Nestled in the lush, green expanse of Oregon’s West Hills, the Pittock Mansion has stood still for the past century and stands as a testament to Portland’s rich history.
However, the building is not only an architectural marvel but also a site of numerous ghostly tales and paranormal encounters. It is widely believed that spirits of the Pittock family continue to ‘reside’ in the Pittock Mansion after their passing.
Over the years, tourists to the museum house have experienced several paranormal activities in the building ranging from heavy footsteps and whispers to moving windows and floating figures.
History of Pittock Mansion
The historic Pittock Mansion is the brainchild of Oregon Trail pioneer Henry Pittock. Originally a typesetter at “The Oregonian”, Pittock went on to own and transform the newspaper into a successful daily publication. Beyond his publishing career, Pittock diversified his investments into real estate, banking, railroads, and other industries.
In 1908, Pittock commissioned architect Edward T. Foulkes to construct a luxurious mansion on the hills of Oregon for his family. The house was completed in 1914, almost 5 years after it was conceptualised by Foulkes.
Modeled after Victorian and French Renaissance architecture, the 45-bedroom large mansion included a host of amenities found only in homes today. This includes an intercom system, a centralised vacuum system, elevators, and a dumbwaiter. As such, the mansion took over five years to complete.
Not long after the completion of Pittock Mansion, Pittock and his wife Georgiana Burton Pittock moved into the house with several other members of the family.
However, their stay in the mansion was short-lived as Georgiana and Henry passed away in 1918 (aged 72) and 1919 (aged 84) respectively. The remaining members of the Pittock family lived in the mansion for the next few decades. In 1958, the estate was put up for sale by Peter Gantenbein, grandson of Pittock.
On Columbus Day Storm of 1962 (October 12, 1962), Pittock Mansion suffered heavy damage to its roof and interiors as strong winds and intense rain ploughed through the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States.
Attempts by developers to tear down the building for new developments were objected by citizens of Portland, for Pittock Mansion is the embodiment of the city’s resilience and growth.
The city rallied and raised a total of $225,000 (including $67,500 donated by citizens of Portland) to purchase the mansion. After a 15 month restoration, Pittock Mansion opened its doors to the public in 1965. The estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Today, the opulent Pittock Mansion has grown to become an iconic landmark for it symbolised the transformation of Portland and epitomized the great American entrepreneurial spirit that Pittock displayed.
However, the mansion also shares the reputation of being one most haunted mansion in Portland.
Many believe that the spirits of Henry and Georgiana Pittock linger in the haunted Pittock Mansion, given their untimely deaths shortly after its completion.
A portrait of Henry Pittock, owner of the house, is known to move on its own to different rooms in the house; the ghostly activities only stopped after the painting was strapped to a rope and tied to a nail on the wall.
Visitors touring rooms in the upper floors reported an intense rose perfume smell. It is believed to be Pittock’s wife, Georgiana Burton Pittock, making her presence to her guests.
There have also been reports of sightings of apparitions of the couple. However, these ghostly figures are often described as peaceful and happy, giving an impression of being gracious hosts to guests touring their beloved home.
Visitors who tour the northernmost side of the mansion are said to have heard sounds of shovels digging the ground. It is believed that the sounds was manifested by the Pittock family’s beloved groundskeeper who till this day, continues to care for the mansion’s garden.
Visiting the Mansion
The mansion is now open to the public as a museum, telling the story of Henry Pittock’s fascinating journey as a pioneer as well as Portland’s meteoric growth from “the most filthy city in the Northern States” to the 9th best city to live in the country.
If you are looking to visit the mansion, here are some important information you should be aware of when planning your trip:
- The address of Pittock Mansion is 3229 NW Pittock Drive, Portland, OR 97210.
- The opening hours vary depending on the season.
- July to October: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, opening at noon on Tuesdays.
- November to June: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, opening at noon on Tuesdays.
- The mansion is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and certain days in January for maintenance.
- The price ranges from $16.50 for adults, $14.50 to seniors above the age of 65, to $12.50 for youth between the age of 6 and 18. Admission is free for children below the age of 6.
- Casual and commemorative photography is allowed inside the mansion, but flash photography is not permitted indoors.
- The parking lot is part of the Portland Parks and Recreation “Pay to Park” system. Note that during peak times (June to August and mid-November to December), the parking lot may be full, especially on weekends.
- Pets are not allowed inside the mansion, the Gate Lodge, or the garage, but they are permitted on the mansion’s grounds.
If you have any question, feel free to visit Pittock Mansion’s official website or call them at +1 503-823-3623
Trails Around Pittock Mansion
Visitors looking to tour the Pittock Mansion may also take on the one of several trails around the the haunted mansion.
The Wildwood Trail starts from Macleay Park’s parking space which is along NW Cornell Road. From there, take the trail across the parking lot and make your way to Pittock Mansion. The 1.4 mile trail takes one through the lush greenery of Forest Park with a pitstop at NW Pittock Drive where Pittock Mansion is located.
At Pittock Mansion, hikers may continue their second leg of Wildwood Trail to Washington Park or make a return trip to the starting point. Hikers looking to take on a longer version of the trail may take on the looking for a longer trail may take on the Upper Macleay Trail or the Lower Macleay Trail; the two trails are divided by NW Cornell Road. Here’s a quick summary of the different trails you can take on:
- Macleay Park (Parking space) to Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail: 2.8 miles round trip
- Hoyt Arboretum Parking Lot to Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail: 3.2 miles round trip
- Washington Park Parking Lot to Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail: 3.8 miles round trip
- Big Meadow Parking Lot to Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail: 5 miles round trip
- Lower Macleay (Lower Macleay Park) to Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail and Lower Macleay Trail: 5.6 miles round trip