Portland Walking Tours

Spectacular Pittock Mansion Is All Decked Out for the Holidays!

December 18th, 2015

Where can you get panoramic views of Portland, ooh and ahh over French Renaissance style architecture, enjoy the grandeur of Victorian interiors, and feel like you’ve stepped back in time? Why, Pittock Mansion of course!  A true treasure of Portland, this magnificent 101-year-old 22-room gem set on 46 acres in the West Hills at 1,000 feet above sea level captivates more than 80,000 visitors per year. Those are impressive stats! But wait, there’s more: Henry and Georgiana Pittock paid nearly $2 million for an Oregon architect and artisans working with almost all Northwest materials to create their masterpiece over a period of five years. Modern (for its time) innovations such as an elevator, intercom, individual thermostats, a walk-in refrigerator, central vacuum system, and indirect lighting made this a comfortable as well as beautiful place to live. Particularly popular for visitors are Mr. Pittock’s shower and an 1887 Steinway grand piano. Being able to see a mixture of authentic family items as well as objects that were current to the time period makes a visit to the mansion so fascinating and fun.


Photo courtesy of Pittock Mansion on Facebook

The pioneering spirit of Henry Pittock and his rise to wealth and success mirrors the growth of Portland itself. His story from birth in London to youth in Pittsburgh to coming to Oregon at a young age with just his brother to taking over The Oregonian and making it into a profitable daily publication is an inspiring story. Both he and his wife contributed greatly to Portland and she is credited with many philanthropic activities as well as being one of the founders of the Rose Festival. His sense of adventure took him to the top of Mt Hood with the first party to scale the mountain. Just 26 and 15 when they married in 1860, they had many years of hard work before amassing enough wealth to be able to commission the mansion in 1909.

The Pittocks, married for 58 years, only enjoyed the mansion for a very short time in their later years. Luckily they had 6 children and 18 grandchildren who were also able to enjoy the lovely legacy before it became a public museum 40 years ago.  And additionally lucky for us, a visit during the holiday season includes the bonus of “The Magic of Wintertime” exhibit which (hurry!) is only up through January 2nd. More than 80 volunteers have created a winter wonderland by decorating and trimming 53 Christmas trees (yes really, in all different sizes) and decking out the mansion with the glorious splendor of the season (you’ll have to see for yourself if Mr. Pittock’s shower is also decorated!). 

So what are you waiting for? Rush on up to the mansion like the contestants of the 13th season of the television show The Amazing Race did when they used it as the finish line. You can even hop the free shuttle available from Washington Park! 

Take a tour of Pittock Mansion and The Magic of Wintertime every day from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM through January 2nd, not including Christmas. For more information visit pittockmansion.org or call 503-823-2623.

Article by Natasha Kelly

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