Pittock Mansion

Last Saturday, we took our visitors (John’s brother and his wife) to the Arboretum and then across Burnside to the Pittock Mansion.

I wish I had more time to write about this place, but I don’t; I’ll give a short summary instead.  Henry Pittock moved to Oregon from England when he was seventeen, and by the time he was 26 was married to Georgiana (10 years his junior) and had been given a controlling share in the Oregonian (as a payment for back wages still owed), which he turned into a successful daily paper.  Throughout the rest of his life he became wealthy through the paper and other businesses in which he invested, and eventually (when he was around 70) decided to build a grand home overlooking Portland.  He and his wife didn’t get to live there long, but it stayed in the family for several decades; it was not well cared for, but the city of Portland purchased and renovated it, and now it’s a beautiful and interesting museum.

Henry Pittock made several very interesting choices (for the early 20th century), such as hiring a commercial architect, who implemented many uncommon safety and utilitarian features.  (Plasterwork instead of wood near the indirect lighting, drains in the floors of the sleeping porches, an elevator, etc.)  I didn’t get photos of everything, nor do I remember all the details at this moment that I wanted to include, but anyway – here are some of my favorite shots from the afternoon.

The family’s 1880s Steinway piano, along with a harp and grand views of the mountains (Hood, Ranier, St. Helens) in the music room:

A small and beautiful “Turkish Smoking Room” with bronzed blue walls, an incredibly intricate plasterwork ceiling, and parquet floors with curved boards 4 inches thick.

Built-in telephones:

Wall-to-wall Persian carpets:

A fancy washing-up sink in the Butler’s Pantry, which served as a buffer area for the food to wait between being cooked in the kitchen and served in the dining room.

Triple ovens and 5 burners on the beautiful black-and-white stove:

Beautiful windows with Italian marble details – one of the only four materials used in the house that wasn’t sourced from the Pacific Northwest:

(The other two were a French Caen stone fireplace, and two kinds of mahogany.)

The lantern above the grand central staircase:

A small bathroom upstairs, with a shower head-like faucet.

This is definitely worth a trip if you have a few spare hours in Portland!

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7 thoughts on “Pittock Mansion

  1. Oh, my goodness. Your shots are beautiful. I’ve got my little eye on the harp! For the love of history, I’m ready to move in to this regal place! Sign me up, SVP. The “washing-up sink in the Butler’s Pantry” looks the size of a king-sized bath tub. Wink! What a great find. Thanks for the tour. I love, love historic houses. T. (The telephone was also a looker!)

    • Thanks so much, and I’m glad you enjoyed. Personally, I want those beautiful windows in my house – although maybe only when I can afford to have sometime else clean them for me. :)

      I’m sure we’ll be visiting periodically, so I’ll have more details to share in the future…

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