True story: We recently took a road trip from Folsom, California to Portland, Oregon. When our bladders gave way around Chico, California and we saw a sign for Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, it was a no-brainer. We stopped, we spotted this phenomenonal place, we posed, peed and got on with our day.
From parks.ca.gov: “Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is a beautiful, three-story, 26 room Victorian House Museum that stands as a memorial to John and Annie Bidwell. John Bidwell was known throughout California and across the nation as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, statesman, politician and philanthropist. Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell, the daughter of a socially prominent, high ranking Washington official, was deeply religious, and committed to a number of moral and social causes. Annie was very active in the suffrage and prohibition movements.
The Bidwell’s were married April 16, 1868 in Washington, D.C. with then President Andrew Johnson and future President Ulysses S. Grant among the guests. Upon arrival in Chico, the Bidwell’s used the Mansion extensively for entertainment of friends. Some of the guests that visited Bidwell Mansion were President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William T. Sherman, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Governor Stanford, John Muir, and Asa Gray.
When constructed, Bidwell Mansion featured the most modern plumbing, gas lighting and water systems. The overall style of the three-story brick structure is that of an Italian Villa, an informal, warmly romantic style. The building’s exterior is finished with a pink tinted plaster.”
Construction began in 1865 and was completed in 1868.