Now Offering Admission Discount to Low-Income OregoniansApril 6, 2016
Pittock Mansion is now offering $5 admission to low-income Oregonians!
Simply show your Oregon Trail Card to purchase discounted tickets.
This offer is made in partnership with Arts For All, a collation of organizations offering discounted cultural experiences to food stamps (SNAP) recipients.
Learn more and find a list of participating organizations on the Arts for All website.
The West Sleeping Porch Returns to its RootsMarch 1, 2016
From 1914-1919, the Pittocks used the West Sleeping Porch as a bedroom for some of daughter Lucy and son-in-law Edward Gantenbein’s three children. The porch is now furnished to reflect this use.
Pittock descendants donated the bed on the right several years ago. It was likely used by Pittock grandchildren here at Pittock Mansion. This past summer a conservator cleaned and stabilized the bed, enabling us to place it on display.
Recently, another donor gave us the bed on the left. The bed was made in 1895 by Portland furniture maker Daniel Wennerberg. Wennerberg also created the bed, dresser, and secretary currently on display in the South Bedroom and the Writing Room.
Using Technology to Embrace HistoryJanuary 28, 2016
Pittock Mansion has secured $29,000 in grant funding for Pittock Connect, the next phase of our Visitor Experience Plan that will use technology to facilitate deeper exploration of Portland’s history. Pittock Connect will expand the educational value of the Pittock while maintaining the fun that makes Pittock Mansion Museum appealing to those who are unlikely to be reached by other cultural and educational institutions.
Our Visitor Experience Plan, drafted in 2012 based on research and surveys, helps ensure we make decisions with visitors’ needs and wants in mind. With the help of $83,000 in grant support we have completed Visitor Experience Plan phases 1 and 2, which improved directional signage and added narrative and interactive enhancements to the permanent exhibit.
The third phase of the Visitor Experience Plan, the Pittock Connect project, will connect visitors to expanded information about Pittock Mansion and related Portland history through their information devices – smart phones, tablets, and more.
To launch Pittock Connect we will make our website more user-friendly by improving its design and creating platforms for users to interact with us. Next, we will connect visitors with dynamic content from Pittock Mansion Society’s extensive archives with an app. After being invited to access the app in the ticket area, surrounding park, or through online searches for Pittock Mansion, users will be able to dig deeper into topics that pique their interest as they learn about Pittock Mansion and Portland history through photographs, illustrations, quotes, biographical material, and more. The app will highlight multiple perspectives, including those of the women and minorities who played a large part in the daily life of early 20th century Portland.
The Pittock development team successfully secured funding support for Pittock Connect from The Jackson Foundation and an anonymous family foundation. These foundations provided sufficient funding to begin and we will continue to work to secure the remaining funds needed. We intend to have the updated website and Pittock app ready for the general public by the end of 2016.
We are excited to enrich the Pittock Mansion experience and create a valuable, modern resource for all who want to learn about regional history.
Remembering a Historic StormSeptember 23, 2015
Pittock Mansion may owe its existence today to a storm that nearly dealt it a fatal blow.
On October 12, 1962, hurricane-force winds from the now-infamous Columbus Day Storm tore through Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees, and sending debris flying.
Portland experienced wind gusts up to 120 miles per hour. Power went out across the city and telecommunications went silent. Across the Pacific Northwest, 46 lives were lost and billions of dollars of damage was done.
Pittock Mansion was just one of many buildings found ravaged after the wind stopped howling.
By the time the Columbus Day Storm hit Portland in 1962, Pittock Mansion had been vacant for several years. Peter Gantenbein, Henry and Georgiana’s grandson, was the only occupant of Pittock Mansion after over 40 years of housing a large, active family. Finding the grandiose home difficult to maintain, Peter moved out in 1958 and put Pittock Mansion on the market but was unable to find a buyer.
The unoccupied mansion suffered extensive damage during the storm. High winds blew off one-third of the ceramic roof tiles, shattered windows, and toppled giant Douglas Fir trees across the estate.
No repairs were made to Pittock Mansion after the storm, and the damaged, vacant house sat exposed to the elements for the next 18 months, resulting in water damage throughout the home.
On January 31, 1964, The Portland Reporter ran an article complete with full page photos to warn the public of developers’ plans to purchase and raze Pittock Mansion to replace it with a subdivision. Outraged, Portlanders launched a grassroots fundraising campaign to save Pittock Mansion. After months of activism and $67,500 in funds raised by citizens, the City of Portland purchased the estate for $225,000.
Repairs and restoration to the wind- and water-damaged estate took 15 months. Workers fixed broken windows and replaced missing roof tiles. They replastered walls and ceilings and flattened warped wooden floors. Original craftsmen, such as light fixture designer Frederick Baker, returned to help.
On June 4, 1965, a restored Pittock Mansion opened to the public as a historic house museum.
Had the cruel Columbus Day Storm not threatened Pittock Mansion’s presence, the house may have sat vacant and forgotten for many more years. The carnage of the storm set off a chain reaction, threatening this piece of Portland history and then emboldening Portland’s citizens to stand together and preserve Pittock Mansion.
Architectural Analysis Leads to Unexpected DiscoveryAugust 3, 2015
We just found out something new about 100-year-old Pittock Mansion!
Recently Pittock Mansion commissioned Architectural Resources Group, LLC (ARG) to conduct a detailed survey of the mansion’s current preservation needs and priorities. From tile roof to basement, ARG’s specialists gathered information on the current state of the structure. ARG explored the mansion’s many crawlspaces, utility rooms, and the expansive attic. Some investigations required controlled removal of sections of pipe or cuts into the walls to gather information.
Historic documentation about the construction of Pittock Mansion is incomplete. Ambiguity in original building plans led us to believe that nearly 2-foot-thick concrete walls support the home’s sandstone veneer.
ARG’s probes discovered otherwise. The mansion’s basement level is indeed constructed of concrete, but the exterior walls of the top 3 levels are brick masonry – a secret the mansion has kept for a century!
This discovery affects the preservation recommendations ARG will make. ARG’s full report will be completed and presented to the Board in September.
As a window into this unexpected find, a test hole showing the brick and tile wall interior, has been left open in the Kitchen to educate visitors about the many surprises and challenges of historic preservation.