Pittock Mansion Museum
Former original owners are happily puttering around here, trying to help.
A former spectral employee continues to work with dedication.
This glorious 1914, 22 room Tenino sandstone mansion, built and designed by the great Frank Foulkes is described as being in the French Chateau style, with perfectly glorious views of Portland. The Pittock Mansion’s grounds cover 46 acres, with large lawns and gardens, treasured by the people of Portland. Besides the large 16000 sq ft. mansion, a three-car garage, a greenhouse, and the Italianate gate lodge servants’ residence also was built on the 46 acres of prime real estate.
It is safe to say that Foulkes was not a “prisoner of standard design”, and definitely thought outside the box. In his design plans, Foulkes created an interesting mix of square stone walls, with a circular interior. Instead of using straight hallways to be the source of finding the rooms, he built the rooms off of a central grand staircase, with round hallways, described by one source, “like spokes from a wheel”.
Pittock Mansion is described as being stunningly progressive for the time, with a central vacuum system operating throughout the mansion, intercoms/internal phone system , individual room thermostats, and indirect lighting. There was a dumbwaiter to move food trays up to the rooms. Furthermore, the mansion was designed so that it would be cooled by morning airflow, eliminating the need for fans in the summer months. Oregon craftsmen and artisans, using materials, like wood and marble from the northwest, did a beautiful job creating the woodwork, and the Turkish, English and French design styles found throughout the mansion.
When touring the Pittock Mansion Museum, the visitor can view the ornate, oval music room, the stunning library, a Turkish smoking room, the Edwardian dining room, with a mountain view, and the master bedrooms with outside verandahs with a view of Portland.
What a fine museum Pittock Mansion has become! With its eclectic architectural design and richly decorated interior, the Pittock Mansion has become a a popular spot; a living memorial of the Pittock’s contributions to the well-being of Portland and its people. Pittock Mansion Museum displays life in Portland around the turn-of-the-century, as well as having on display family artifacts. More than 80,000 people visit the Pittock Mansion Museum, some of which enjoy the past time of bird watching as well.
English-born Henry Pittock at the age of 19, joined a wagon train in 1853 that traveled from Pennsylvania to Portland, Oregon, arriving without much money, but with a stellar work ethic. He got a job working for Thomas Jefferson Dryer’s Weekly Oregonian Newspaper, and did quite well. 1860 turned out to be a great year for Henry. At 26, he not only bought the Oregonian Newspaper, making it a daily paper, but married the love of his life, Georgiana Burton, who had also traveled from Missouri with her family, and arrived one year after he did.
They became pillars of the community, both in business development, and philanthropy. Most of their lives were lived in the city Portland, where they raised their 6 children, in-between all their community activities and charity events that helped so many in their community. Both family and community were important and central in their lives.
Georgiana dedicated her time to improve the lives of women and children in the Portland community, starting The Ladies Relief Society in 1867; an organization that created the Children’s Home that provided care, food, and shelter for poor children. Another group of women she supported were the single, working women, getting involved with the Woman’s Union. She played a key role in building The Martha Washington Home for single, working women.
Georgiana also adored flowers, especially roses, and planted many varieties all over their property, cutting fresh flowers for their Pittock Mansion.
While Henry branched out into other business fields, becoming successful in real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, sheep ranching, silver mining, and the pulp and paper industry, he also enjoyed the outdoors and horseback riding.
Pittock Mansion was built to be Henry and Georgiana’s summer retirement home, with a glorious view of the city that they both loved. Family came often to visit and stay with them. Designed in 1909, built in 1914, the Pittocks lived here until their deaths; Georgiana in 1918 at the age of 72, and Henry in 1919, at the age of 84. The Pittock family carried on, and owned this fine mansion until well into the 1950s. In 1958, Pittock grandson, Peter Gantenbein, and Eric Ladd decided that the mansion was too much for them to keep up with, so they put this expensive fixer-upper on the market, with no takers. When the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 did some heavy damage to the mansion, the pair seriously considered selling the estate to developers, who would tear the mansion down and develop this prime piece of real estate. 6 to 8 million dollars were needed to restore this mansion. People in the community sprang into action, and raised 75,000 dollars in 3 months, to help the city of Portland to buy this property. The Pittock Mansion was saved at a price of $225,000 dollars, in 1964.
After 15 months of restoration work, The Pittock Mansion Museum opened to the public in 1965, under the authority of The Portland Parks and Recreation. The Pittock Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. While 80,000 people a year come to visit this fine museum that is treasured by the community of Portland, it seems that Pittock Mansion and grounds are also still loved and appreciated by entities in the spirit world as well.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who put a lot of effort into creating their dream home or business, but die after a short while, or suffer circumstances that stop them from enjoying it, sometimes like to visit or spend their after-life in their treasured structure.
Henry and Georgiana only had 4-5 years to enjoy their retirement home before leaving this world.
When structures are historically restored, this can act like an environmental trigger drawing former owners or folks attached to the structure back into this world to relive their memories and keep an eye on the living, perhaps giving suggestions in their own way.
As all the spirits are happy, cordial and benign, they must be pleased with the City of Portland’s efforts to restore the mansion.
Besides the entities of Henry and Georgiana, the keeper of the outside grounds has come back to work.
Entity of the Head Gardener/Grounds keeper
Sounds of heavy boots walking around the yard, and coming into the side door, have been reported.
Perhaps he has been seen as well, because this entity has been identified as being the gardener, and not Mr. Pittock out for a stroll in the garden!
The happy couple, Henry and Georgiana have been seen and heard by staff and visitors.
Footsteps have been heard around the hallways, coming out of rooms, and on the ground floor as well of the mansion.
Windows open and close by themselves, items are moved around the mansion.
Entity of Henry Pittock
A strongly felt, supportive unseen presence has been felt by the staff and visitors as well.
Some sensitive individuals have felt an unseen presence escorting them around the mansion, following them like a good host would do.
One source reported that Henry may have been physically seen, but no details were provided.
Entity of Georgiana Pittock
A childhood portrait of Henry has been moved around the mansion by unseen hands. Perhaps she has better ideas as to where the picture of her beloved should hang.
A visitor saw a reflection of an older lady in the glass of a painting.
The aroma of roses in and around the inside of the mansion means that Georgiana is present.
An apparition of an old woman has been seen in the basement, keeping a visitor company.
Probably so. Some of the tell-tale signs of spirits being in the mansion have been experienced. While more hard evidence to back up the personal experiences would be nice to see, and needed to establish hard proof, it is very possible that Mr. and Mrs. Pittock appear to be still enjoying their retirement home, give kindly support to the staff, and are gracious hosts to the many visitors that come to tour their special mansion.
Many personal experiences have been made public through a variety of sources.
Not much has been made public on-line, but a report off an investigator’s blog is a start.
A paranormal investigator caught an evp, one of a man, saying, “I’M HEADING BACK.” She had felt a strong presence following her group around the mansion.
In one of the smaller rooms, She also caught another evp, of a friendly female voice, saying “Hello!”
3229 NW Pittock Drive
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 823-3623 Main Office and Information
The Pittock Mansion Museum is located on a 46 acre estate, up on a mountain of sorts, 1000 ft above Portland, Oregon.
- Haunts of Western Oregon
by Kent Goodman
- The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
by Rich Newman
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr