Pittock Mansion

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Pittock Mansion
Rear of Pittock Mansion.jpeg
General information
Architectural style Italianate, Renaissance
Location Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Construction started 1909
Completed 1914
Technical details
Size 16,000 ft.² [1]
Grounds 46 acres (18.6 ha)[1]
Other information
Number of rooms 46[1]
Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion is located in Portland, Oregon
Pittock Mansion
Coordinates 45°31′30″N 122°42′59″W / 45.52500°N 122.71639°W / 45.52500; -122.71639Coordinates: 45°31′30″N 122°42′59″W / 45.52500°N 122.71639°W / 45.52500; -122.71639
Architect Edward T. Foulkes
Governing body City of Portland
NRHP Reference # 74001709
Added to NRHP November 21, 1974

The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style château in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, USA. The mansion was originally built in 1909 as a private home for London-born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana. It is a 46-room estate built of Tenino Sandstone situated on 46 acres (190,000 m2) that is now owned by the city's Bureau of Parks and Recreation and open for touring.[2]

Modeled after Victorian and French Renaissance architecture, the forty-six room house is situated on an expanse in the West Hills that provides panoramic views of Downtown Portland. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[3]


Interior of Pittock Mansion from central staircase

Construction and architecture[edit]

Pittock Mansion was constructed in 1909 by London-born publisher and business tycoon Henry Pittock as a private residence for he and his wife, Georgiana.[1] Construction began in 1909, though the house was not completed until 1914.[1] Upon completion, the home featured such luxuries as a central vacuum system, intercoms, and indirect lighting.[4] The interiors of the mansion were modeled after Victorian, Turkish, and French Renaissance architecture, and built with materials from the local area.[4]

Political scandal; death of Pittocks[edit]

The home was at the center of a political scandal in 1911 when Portland City Council member, Will H. Daly, brought public attention to Pittock having arranged for a water line to the construction project entirely at city expense, despite it being located a half mile outside of the city limits at the time. The incident contributed to a longstanding feud between Pittock's paper and Daly which ultimately led to the end of the councilman's political career.[5]

Georgiana, one of the founders of the Portland Rose Festival, died in 1918 at the age of 72, and Henry in 1919 at 84. The Pittock family remained in residence at the mansion until 1958, when Eric Ladd, who had stayed in the mansion for four years,[6] and Peter Gantenbein, a Pittock grandson who had been born in the house, put the estate on the market and were unsuccessful in selling it. Extensive damage caused by the Columbus Day Storm in 1962 caused the owners to consider demolishing the building.[1] The community raised $75,000 in three months in order to help the city purchase the property.[7] Seeing this popular support, and agreeing that the house had tremendous value as a unique historic resource, the City of Portland purchased the estate in 1964 for $225,000.

Restoration projects[edit]

Fifteen months were spent restoring the mansion. The mansion opened to the public in 1965, and has been a community landmark ever since. Roughly 80,000 people visit the Pittock Mansion each year.[8] Due to the location of the site 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level, the mansion is one of the best places for birdwatching in Portland.[9] The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[3]

In 2006, the City of Portland estimated that $6–8 million worth of restorations were needed for the mansion.[10]

In popular media[edit]

The mansion made its first known appearance in the 1977 romance film First Love, starring Susan Dey and William Katt. The house was the main character's family home and had an important scene in this film.

The second appearance was in the 1982 slasher film Unhinged.[11] The film has become infamous since its release due to being banned in various countries as a video nasty. The house is used as the main location in the film and is used prominently throughout. The people of the city of Portland are thanked gratefully during the end credits for their participation during the films's production.

This location was used in the 1989 movie, The Haunting of Sarah Hardy starring Sela Ward and Morgan Fairchild. This mansion was also used prominently in the 1993 film Body of Evidence starring Madonna and Willem Dafoe.[12] This location was used as the finish line for the 13th season of the 6-time Emmy-winning reality game show, The Amazing Race.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Koffman, Rebecca (January 24, 2014). "Portland landmark Pittock Mansion turns 100 with free admission and special tours". Oregon Live. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ Hall, Christopher (November 2004). "Estate of the Art". VIA. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006. Retrieved November 22, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b "Oregon - Multnomah County". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved November 22, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b "Visit Pittock Mansion". Pittock Mansion.com. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ Terry, John; citing Robert D. Johnston, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Fall, 1998 (July 24, 2005). "Oregon's Trails: Important labor leader fails to garner credit he's due". The Oregonian (Newspaper) (Portland, Oregon: Oregonian Publishing). pp. A21. 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Ann (May 21, 1995). "PRESERVATIONIST, ORGANIZATIONS GET AWARDS". The Oregonian. pp. G02. 
  7. ^ Johns, Anna (July 15, 2005). "Pittock seeks new funding source". Portland Tribune. Retrieved November 22, 2006. 
  8. ^ "State of the Parks: 2020 Vision". City of Portland Parks Department. Retrieved November 22, 2006. 
  9. ^ Houck, Michael C.; Cody, M.J. (2000). Wild in the City. Oregon Historical Society. p. 116. ISBN 0-87595-273-9. 
  10. ^ Johns, Anna (October 9, 2006). "Pittock Mansion slowly changes hands". Portland Tribune. Retrieved November 22, 2006. 
  11. ^ Singer, Matthew (August 15, 2012). "Buried Alive". Willamette Week. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ Singer, Matther (October 13, 2015). "Sex and Candles". Willamette Week. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 

External links[edit]