Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days in Oregon: Pittock Mansion

• thirty-one day challenge •
{DAY 1}
Portland Area

I am taking on the task of writing on this blog for 31 days straight. The idea is from I feel like I slack a bit when it comes to blogging, so this is a great way to challenge me to write more. I do have plenty to say. I just don't make the time to actually write about it.

My theme is 31 Days in Oregon because I've lived here all my life & Oregon has many fabulous places to visit. I've done many posts about places I've taken the kids on field trips, but I think I can still come up with 31 new places.

The first place we're visiting on this virtual tour of Oregon is Pittock Mansion.

I don't have a great reason for giving this historic building the honor of Day 1 except that it is a mansion so, of course, it's magnificent. And, this year, the home is celebrating its 100th year. If you're not into historic buildings check back tomorrow. I'll be sharing another fantastic house, but it's more pop culture than historic.

The first view you get of Pittock Mansion. Technically, this is the back of the house, but it's where the parking lot is located. So, you see the back first.

I'm guessing this sign wasn't part of the original design, but it's up high and not a distraction at all. Underneath the sign are the entrance doors to the mansion.

A quick history of Pittock Mansion:
• Construction was complete in 1914.

• Along with the mansion, a three-car garage, greenhouse, and servants house were also built
• 16,000 square feet
• Originally sat on 46 acres
• 1000 feet above sea level with great views of the city 
• Exterior is in the style of French Renaissance architecture
• Interior is a combination of styles including English, French & Turkish
• Had many of the latest innovations, including central vacuum system, central heating, an elevator without a doorman & indirect lighting
• It was built for Henry & Georgiana Pittock
• Put up for sale in 1958 by the last Pittock family member to live in the mansion
• Sat empty for years and damaged by the Columbus Day storm in 1962
• On the verge of being demolished when it was purchased by the city of Portland in 1964
• Now a historical city park for us all to enjoy
• Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

A quick history of Henry Pittock:
• Born in 1835 in England
• In 1853, at the age of 19, traveled the Oregon Trail to Portland.
• Henry worked for the Weekly Oregonian newspaper. The Oregonian is still around today.
• Savvy business man partnering, investing & operating a variety of business ventures
• Married Georgiana in 1860
• One of the first recorded people to summit Mt. Hood
• Died at the age of 83 in 1919

A quick history of Georgiana Pittock:
• Arrived in Oregon at the age of 9
• At 15, married Henry
• Involved with lots of philanthropic work
• Enjoyed gardening
• Helped found the Portland Rose Society & Portland Rose Festival. Portland still hosts the annual Rose Festival and is known as the City of Roses.
• Died in 1918, one year prior to Henry

To learn more about Pittock history watch this quick video on OPB.

Main Floor

The Main Hall, or Stair Hall
The double doors in the middle are the elevator doors, which can still be used today.


In the Library above the fireplace. The woodwork includes the Pittock Family Crest.
Georgiana was a very social woman. While living in the heart of Portland she was close to her friends. She agreed to move up to on the hill so far from the city if she could have a chauffeur to bring her to her friends & social engagements. The chauffeur would also bring guests to the mansion. Every morning she met with the chauffeur, often in the library, to go over the days outings.

Music Room

Smoking Room decorated in a Turkish Style
Many of the ceilings in the house were elaborate, especially the domed patterned ceiling in this room.

Formal Dining Room
I was told the family ate here only on special occasions.

Statue in the Dining Room
Many of the pieces in the house are period pieces - those similar to ones the Pittock's would have had. Most of their original furnishings were sold. Although, there are a few Pittock pieces on display.

The kitchen wasn't just one room. There is a whole kitchen area. How awesome would that be?! There was the main kitchen, as well as a Butler's Pantry, Store Room & Refrigeration Room.

The floor is rubber, is soft to walk on & I know there was a lot of work done recently to redo the floor. However I thought it was ugly & didn't really go with the house.

Storage Room

Flowers in the Breakfast Room
This is the room the family typically ate their meals.

Second Floor

Stair Hall

Pittock family painting of Henry

Pittock family painting of Georgiana

Henry & Georgiana's daughter Kate and her husband, Lockwood Hebard, occupied this room.

Every window of the house has a great view, including this one in Kate's bedroom.

Sleeping Porch off Kate's room
The sleeping porch's were used when the weather got hot or if someone was ill.

Hanging above the bed in the sleeping porch was this poster of the Lewis & Clark Exposition held in Portland in 1905.
The event happened before the mansion was even built & I kind of doubt a poster such as this would have been in the house. But, I did enjoy looking at it.

Had the house been built when the Exposition in 1905 occurred, the view out a window in a different room would have overlooked the event.

Louise Gallien & Helen Van Houten, Georgiana's orphaned nieces shared this room

This corner of the room caught my eye

Henry Pittock's Bedroom
Seems a bit boring for the King of the Castle. Although, I was told they were very down to earth people. They didn't even really want to build such a fancy home, but as high class members of society they were kind of pressured into building something grand.

The Sewing Room is beautiful!

Georgiana's Bedroom

In 1914 many Portland homes didn't have indoor bathrooms. Pittock Mansion had 6.

Dressing Room

Henry & Georgiana's daughter Lucy & her husband, Edward Gantenbein, slept in this room. Out their window was the view of the Lewis & Clark Exposition location.

Sleeping Porch off Lucy's room

Pittock grandchildren used this Child's Room.

Lower Level

The man in the photo was the guide. He was very informative & obviously has passion for the Pittock Mansion. Here, he's showing us a 1914 drawing of the landscape architects ideas for the property. None of the ideas were used. I enjoyed seeing the different view of Portland as it was so many years ago. Guild's Lake, where the Lewis & Clark Exposition was held, is now filled in and Mt. St. Helens still has its top. I was only 2 1/2 when the volcano erupted, so a domeless mountain is all I remember.


In the old Billiard Room are many artifacts and information about Pittock Mansion.


Front of Pittock Mansion

Gate House

Pittock Mansion is beautifully landscaped. There are many shrubs, perennials &, of course, roses.

A bleeding heart in the spring.

Besides the fabulous house, the other draw to Pittock Mansion are the views of Portland. On clear days many mountains in the Cascade Range are visible including Mt. Hood & Mt. St. Helens. I haven't yet visited Pittock Mansion on a real clear day, but I have gotten a hazy glimpse of Mt. Hood.

Overlooking the city

Willamette River & the Industrial Area

Pittock Mansion is located in the West Hills and Forest Park, a large urban forest with many miles of hiking trails. If you are interested in hiking to the mansion, check this site out.

The building and its views are so grand that I have many more photos I'd like to share, but I'll have to save them for another day.

To see what others are sharing for the month of October check out

I'm also doing this 31 Days challenge on my farm and garden blog:

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