Why Pittock Mansion Should Be On Your Bucket List
Pittock mansion offers the history and natural beauty of Portland that many visitors, and even locals, are constantly in search of. If you have grown to love Portland, or are curious, you must put a visit to Pittock Mansion on your bucket list.
The Italianate structure is an oval shape with wings in order to maximize the panoramic views sure to take your breathe away. From Pittock Mansion you can see the distant Cascade Mountains and Mount Hood, Portland itself, and the Willamette River. It is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment that draws photographers, hikers, and naturalists to the area. Keep reading to find out more why this attraction is a must-see.
The History of the Home
Portland is bustling now, but, once upon a time, it was a fledgling town on the Western frontier. Travelers on the Oregon Trail sacrificed nearly everything to start over from scratch.
Two such travelers were Henry Pittock and Georgianna Burton, from Pittsburgh and Missouri, respectively. They met and married in this frontier town, where they raised their five children and became one of Portland's most prominent families.
Henry and his family came from London when Henry was four. As he grew up, Henry worked in his father’s Pittsburgh print shop. By 1860, Henry was a newlywed working as a typesetter at the struggling Oregonian when he was given ownership of the paper as payment for outstanding wages. Pittock brought in cutting-edge equipment, made sure to get the news ahead of everyone, and built the paper up until it beat out dozens of competitors.
“The House on a Hill”
Pittock family members enjoyed the outdoors, climbing, bicycling, and gardening, so they chose a location in the West Hills 1,000 feet above Portland proper. Construction began in 1912; the Pittocks and eight family members moved in in 1914.
This gorgeous home had cutting-edge conveniences and breathtaking interiors. Its sweeping spiral staircase, intricate tiling, and tasteful wall hangings and vases are reminiscent of the Titanic’s posh interiors. A rounded, tiled ceiling surrounds the staircase, giving it a sort of genie’s bottle or even nautical feel.
The master bath has an adjustable showerhead that can be set to expand to a rain showerhead. There is also a sort of sink for washing oneself after using the bathroom: “not a bidet,” more of a sink with similar properties. The kitchen appliances were the absolute best available at the time.
Restoration and Renaissance
Although it’s a major Portland landmark now, the 16,000 sq. ft. home had to be saved from demolition in 1964. The last Pittock residents left in 1958 and tried to sell it. Four years later, the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 hit, damaging roof tiles and letting water into the empty mansion. By 1964, developers were offering money for the property and planned to raze it. The town rallied to purchase and restore the Mansion, which opened to the public in 1965.
Founding families of Portland donated artifacts for display in the new museum home. Exhibits show Portland from its beginnings to today, showing all of the city’s citizens and their history. The area is also part of a wildlife and nature trail area that is known for its excellent birding and outdoor activities.
There is so much history at the Pittock Museum that it is a no-brainer as to why you should add this to your bucket list the next time you're in Portland.