If you’ve been with us long, you know how we love some newspaper history around here. And the Pittock Mansion hit that for us, plus has some haunted haps perfect for Halloween!
Born in England and raised in Pittsburgh, Penn., Henry Pittock (1834-1919) came to the Pacific Northwest on the Oregon Trail at age 19 in search of fortune. His future wife, Georgina Burton, left Missouri with her family and arrived in Oregon one year later.
At the time of their arrival, Portland was competing with Oregon City to become the region’s primary trade and industrial center. Henry began working as a typesetter at The Oregonian during a competitive time, when 30 other newspapers were launched in this area. On June 20, 1860, Henry and Georgiana married. Five months later, Henry was given ownership of the paper in exchange for back wages. Henry went on to transform The Oregonian into a successful daily newspaper that is still printed today.
Pittock also built a financial empire by investing in real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, sheep ranching, silver mining, and the paper industry. He was an avid outdoorsman, bicycle enthusiast, and was among the first group to climb Mount Hood. Georgiana Pittock became a founder and fundraiser for many charities and cultural organizations, including the Ladies Relief Society, Women’s Union, and the Martha Washington Home, a residence for single, self-supporting women.
Construction of the mansion — which sits on a hill with panoramic views of the Willamette Valley, Portland and Mt. Hood — began in 1912. The couple only lived here for about four years before dying, but family remained in the home until the 1950s. After building such a stunning place, it’s no wonder the couple still allegedly roam its halls.
Reports are that paranormal activity is harmless and strongest upstairs. Many folks report smelling rose perfume… and we certainly did upon entering Georgina’s bedroom. We walked through a few times and only smelled it once, so it definitely wasn’t being piped in.
The mansion sat empty for years and was damaged by a huge storm, leading it to be considered for demolition. Portland residents and the city raised funds to purchase the property for $225,000.
It was restored and transformed to become a historic house mansion — a 15 month process — and opened as such in 1965.
The house has been featured in movies including First Love, Unhinged, The Haunting of Sarah Hardy, and Body of Evidence. In 2008, it served as the finish line for The Amazing Race!
We toured the house and it was fantastic… visit our Instagram account to see some interior pics.