Pittock Mansion: Portrait of an American Castle

In 1914, designed by Edward Foulkes, on forty-six acres and nearly one thousand feet above the Portland, Oregon skyline, Henry and Georgiana Burton Pittock completed Pittock Mansion their incredible castle home. The immense sweeping view of mountains and

       

 

Introduction

In 1914, Edward Foulkes designed an incredible castle on forty-six acres and nearly one thousand feet above the Portland, Oregon skyline.  Henry and Georgiana Burton Pittock completed Pittock Mansion with an immense sweeping view of mountains, city, beautiful architecture, art and antiques which captured the eyes of tourists and Portland residents alike.

 

 

History

Crossing the Oregon Trail as a teenager with mere pennies, astute business and family man Henry Pittock grew to become the owner and publisher of The Oregonian and turned it into the daily news that we read today. Henry didn't stop there. He went on to build an empire, incorporating real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, silver mining, and much more.

Henry's wife, Georgiana, who was known for her lifelong devotion to many charities and her love of roses, is credited with the establishment of Portland's annual Rose Festival tradition. From the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, Henry and Georgiana Pittock's work encouraged and enhanced the growth of Portland from a small Northwest town into a thriving American city.

 

  

 

Today

A reminder of a splendorous time, Pittock Mansion is a veritable treasure trove. It's grounds provide a beautiful nature reserve and views of Mt. Hood and the Cascades that are incomparable in the Portland area. The mansion can be reached by auto, but can also be reached by hiking from nearby parks.

Eclectic design, artifacts, art and lavish interior, the mansion still stands today as a prestigious memorial of the Pittocks’ contribution to the young city and it's inhabitants. While boasting remarkably innovative features for it's time, including central vac and intercom systems, and truly beautiful use of indirect lighting, the mansion also seamlessly blends English, French and Turkish design. In loyalty to their beloved Oregon, the Pittocks used local craftsmen and artisans and all Northwest materials to build their home. The complete estate includes the mansion, gatehouse(servants' quarters), a three-car garage, the incredible views and acres of mountainous gardens and trails.

 

Tours

As well as the normal daily visits and an incredible Christmas decor, the mansion also offers their "Discovery Tours" and other educational activities for young children. Requiring a one month advance reservation, these educational tours provide young students with a chance to use their reading, drawing and mapping skills while exploring some twenty-three rooms on the bottom three floors of the mansion.

Architectural details and interesting points are noted in workbooks which are provided during the tours allowing the students to roam and discover the mansion more freely. In conclusion students are encouraged to attend a Q&A session with a Pittock Mansion staff member. For more information on the mansion, tours, dates and upcoming events, please visit their website or give them a call.

  

 

 

 

Conclusion

Although the Pittocks died in 1918 and 1919, the Pittock family resided in the mansion until 1958, when a Pittock grandson(Peter Gantenbein) put the mansion up for sale. The threat of being demolished by developers and damage caused by a storm in 1962 brought fund raisers together to keep the mansion from falling. Seeing this great interest and the mansion's value as a historical monument, the City of Portland purchased the mansion and the grounds in 1964. After the city's restoration, the property was opened to the public as a museum and landmark in 1965 and remains so to the present day. A wealth of historical significance and visual beauty, Pittock Mansion provides us with the opportunity to peer into the past, and view the world as it was, from the perspective of the Pittocks.

 

 

Copyright ©2010 Michele Cameron Drew. All rights reserved.

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John Smither
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