Rainstorms or not, Portland Oregon is filled with holiday spirit. The Pacific Northwest is known for having dreary damp, grey weather this time of year but the sparkle of lights and decorations at the historic Pittock Mansion is a welcoming festive sight this time of year. Visitors can walk through and enjoy 23 decorated rooms and a schedule of musical performances during holiday time. A visit to Pittock Mansion to see the decorations is a 50-year Portland holiday tradition.
A Reflection of Portland History
Pittock Mansion, high in the west hills overlooking Portland, was home to Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock in the early 1900’s. Henry Pittock was the owner of The Oregonian newspaper and a businessman. It’s hard to picture, but when Henry Pittock and his future wife Georgiana Burton arrived, separately, by wagon trains in the 1850s, Portland was a muddy village, isolated from the rest of the United States and the world.
Pittock, like many other pioneers, went on to build an empire incorporating real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, sheep ranching, silver mining, and the pulp and paper industry. There were opportunities and resources in this new land and people like the Pittocks took advantage of the opportunity. Mrs. Pittock became a community leader and philanthropist. She is credited with starting the Rose Festival tradition in Portland.
Visiting the Mansion
The elegant mansion was restored by the City of Portland in the 1960’s after massive damage during a storm. It is now a draw for locals and visitors who love the elegance of the French Renaissance-style château and the views from the pathways surrounding it. A favorite 5-mile hike takes hikers from the Lower Macleay Trailhead to the mansion and back.
Each holiday season volunteers transform the museum into a winter wonderland with decorated trees, elegant table settings, themed rooms and a look into family life of days gone by.
As I walked from room to room one Christmas season, I could easily picture children playing tea party with their dolls in a sunny playroom while adults took their tea in an elegant drawing room with a view of Mount Hood and the city of Portland. The mansion is fitting for the lifestyle that the Pittock family built for themselves and provided me with a glimpse into their world.
When You Go
The mansion is open for this event daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day from November 23rd – January 2nd. Admission prices are: $11 for Adults, $10 for Seniors (65+), and $8 for Youth (ages 6-18) There is a free shuttle service from Washington Park.