Portland’s Pittock Mansion


Henry Pittock was born in England and raised Pittsburg.  At 17, he and his brother decided to head west.  He landed in the Oregon Territory in 1853, completely broke.  He started working for the weekly Oregonian newspaper shortly after his arrival – his only compensation being room and board.  After six months he was granted a salary and continued to work for Thomas Dryer (owner of the paper) for another six years.  Dryer, more interested in politics than his business, moved on to Washington, leaving the troubled newspaper to Pittock in 1861.  Henry Pittock moved the paper from pending financial disaster to becoming the most dominant newspaper in the Portland area.  In 1860 he married Georgiana Burton.  They had five children and lived on a block of land he had purchase in 1856 for $300 (known as the “Pittock Block”).   Georgiana died in 1918 at the age of 72, followed by Henry in 1919 at the age of 84. 


Georgiana’s bedroom










In 1909 the Pittocks purchased 46 acres on a hill overlooking the city and began construction of the 22 room, 16,000 square foot mansion.  Completed around 1914, Henry and Georgiana had only a few years to live in the mansion they had built as their summer retirement home.IMG_0391


After the deaths of Henry and Georgiana, the Pittock family continued to live in the home until 1958.  Pittocks’ grandson and a longtime resident of the house attempted, unsuccessfully, to sell the property.  Then the Columbus Day storm of 1962 caused so much damage, they considered simply demolishing the structure, but the surrounding community wanted to keep it as a historic landmark.  Within three months they raised $75,000 to help the City of Portland purchase the property.  The city bought it in 1964 for $225,000.  It took 15 months to restore, and now accepts more than 80,000 visitors a year.


It has been the backdrop for several movies – First Love (1977), Unhinged (1982), The Haunting of Sarah Hardy (1989) and Body of Evidence (1993).  More recently it was the final destination of the reality TV show, the Great Race (13th season).



Poinsettia graced the marble staircase as you enter the house


Bells were not used to call servants. The Pittocks had an intercom system installed to call them -and other “modern” conveniences.


The Edwardian Diningroom

IMG_0387 IMG_0385 IMG_0383 IMG_0381 IMG_0379 IMG_0361IMG_0360IMG_0356IMG_0355

There is a house that was built for the chauffeur and his family on the grounds as well.



























Those that study the paranormal say that when so much work is put into building a home and the residents die without having very long to live there, the restoration process brings them back.  Some visitors (and a few employees) have reported seeing Georgiana in the ballroom and roaming the halls of the house.  Henry has been seen walking the halls and a photo of him as a child, reportedly moves from moment to moment.


Although I didn’t see any ghosts while I was there, I did see a beautiful home with a spectacular view – and learned a little of Portland’s history in the process.

For more information, visit their website – The Pittock Mansion



About Helen Fern

I live in the upper Willamette Valley with my amazing husband and four very spoiled cats - three adopted feral cats and one shelter baby. We have lived here since the dawn of 1991 and love every inch of the region.
This entry was posted in Simple Pleasures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Portland’s Pittock Mansion

  1. Laura funk says:

    Mansions, Christmas, possible ghosts! LOVE. Thanks for linking up to WW

  2. I enjoyed the tour of this beautiful mansion. I know it must have been incredible in person. And I loved the ghost stories. Thank you for sharing your pictures with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned! 🙂

  3. Oh My..I love this mansion, and old buildings, I have a thing for architecture anyway. There are so many aspects to this that are wonderful especially to share the holiday photos, great job!!! Thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girls this week!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *