Pittock Mansion is a historic 16,000-square-foot French Renaissance-style home in West Hills of Portland. Built from 1912 to 1914, it has 23 rooms including music and sewing rooms, a library, five large bedrooms, two sleeping porches and a Turkish smoking room.

Architect Edward T. Foulkes designed it for Englishman Henry Pittock a newspaper publisher of The Oregonian and a rich businessman. Pittock wanted an architecturally impressive house with modern technology by that era's standards for his family. Originally located on 46 acres of land, Pittock Mansion is today a house museum and its grounds a public park, and it's definitely one of the local spots travelers should know about before visiting Portland.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Pittock Mansion's Brief History

In the early 1900s, Henry Pittock desired a mansion on the hill with great views of Portland, the Willamette River and the far-off Cascade Mountains.

After the mansion was complete in 1914, Pittock and his wife Georgiana and eight family members moved in. The couple lived in the mansion for about four years and died, but other family members lived there until the 1950s.

In 1958, Pittock's grandson Peter Ganteinbein and his father Edward, the last residents of the mansion, put it up for sale. For four years until 1962 when the mansion was hit by the Columbus Day storm it was unoccupied.

Damage from the storm left it in poor condition and was set to be demolished by developers but Portland residents and the city raised $225,000, to buy it.

After being bought, the Pittock Mansion was renovated and transformed from a private home to a public space in 15 months; in 1965, it was opened to the public as a historic house museum.

RELATED: This Is The Real-Life Story Of The Oregon Trail And The Dangers That Followed It

A nonprofit, Pittock Mansion Society, was formed to care for and manage the mansion. To date, it is also in charge of daily operations that include historical education.

Pittock Mansion tells the story of Portland's transformation from a pioneer town to a modern and industrialized city through the legacy of one of the most influential families there.

Things To Do While Visiting Pittock Mansion

Tour The Gate Lodge

The Gate Lodge is an Italianate-styled craftsman home that was built of reinforced concrete with a stucco exterior and roofed with clay tiles. Its size is 2,400 square feet spread across four floors linked by a central staircase. As per its name, it is next to the initial gated roadway that led up to Pittock Mansion.

RELATED: Oregon's Witch's Castle Is Fueled By Legend, But Is There Any Truth To It?

The Gate Lodge was first occupied in 1914 by Pittock's driver and his wife. After moving out, estate steward, James Skene and his wife, Marjory moved in and had a daughter Marjorie who grew up in the Pittock's estate.

After the Skene family moved out in 1953 the Gate Lodge was left empty, unheated and plagued with leaks.

That changed when the City of Portland partnered with Pittock Mansion Society to restore the home in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Gate Lodge was a tearoom for the Junior League of Portland women and caterers.

In the early 2000s using the insights of the original resident Marjorie Skene, it was renovated to look as it did in the 1930s and 1940s and is today a historic house museum.

RELATED: This Is Why You Should Visit The Mark Twain House And Museum, Where 'Tom Sawyer' Originated

She advised the Pittock Mansion Society on the historic colors, furniture layout and fabrics, and her family donated some original furnishings and household items that visitors see while touring the Gate Lodge.

Tour The Grounds Of Pittock Estate

Pittock Mansion grounds are daily open to the public until 9 pm and visitors get great views of the vast Portland and its skyline. On a clear day, five Cascade Mountains, Hood, Saint Helens, Adams, Rainer and Jefferson, can be seen from that 1000 feet elevation.

The grounds are manicured and have beautiful flowers and shrub beds surrounding and complementing the magnificence of the Pittock Mansion.

RELATED: How To Hike The 382 Mile Oregon Coast Trail

Behind the mansion are Forest Park and Wildwood Trails which are popular with hikers and climbers. Pittock and his two daughters loved hiking on these trails as well.

The Pittock Mansion Tours

Pittock Mansion has a unique oval shape and wings positioned at 45 degrees angle to enhance views of Portland and the Cascade Mountains.

Inside are curved wooden floors and artistic round and oval rooms, with furnishings and decorations in line with the modernity of the era the Pittock mansion was built.

Thermostat-controlled central heating, indirect electric lighting, refrigeration, elevator and vacuuming system, are the technologies Foulkes installed in the mansion.

Local craftsmen who added a touch of antiquity have their profiles and trade tools exhibited there.

Guided tours are on hiatus but 60 minutes self-guided tours of the Mansion and Gate Lodge are available.

RELATED: 10 Historic Homes In Boston You Need To See

Maps on the main entrance and interpretive panels guide visitors on the Mansion, Gate Lodge and ground tours. Tour and annual event tickets can be booked online.​​​​​​​

This might be one of the quirkier attractions in Portland, but Pittock Mansion is in good company; there are unique things to do all through the city.

Admission Tickets

Pittock Mansion and Gate Lodge's regular admission hours are from 10 am to 4 pm but open from noon on Tuesdays. From June to Labor Day admission is from 10 am to 5 pm but opens at noon on Tuesdays.

On Christmas, Thanksgiving and January it is closed for maintenance.

Admission Fees

  • Adults $14.50
  • Youth (6 to 18) $10.50
  • Seniors (65+ years) $12.50
  • Children under 6 years free