Skip to main content

Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

March 6, 2014:  The conversation around Gumbo’s table took a turn today as we discussed the sensibilities of men and women and how it might apply to content on the site.  The only woman at the moment among the regular bloggers (as far as I know), I haven’t tried to differentiate what I’ve posted but, for a variety of reasons, have endeavored to maintain a neutral tone.  Today I decided to abandon my efforts at neutrality and write from a more personal perspective.  It may be that it makes little difference, possibly none whatever, but maybe it will.  Either way, I like the feeling of more freedom, even if it’s an illusory one.


These pictures have been languishing with no text in my drafts closet on the Gumbo site and I decided today would be a symbolic moment to pull them out.  Think home and hearth.


 (Hold your cursor over the photos for titles.)

Grand staircase.




There’s nothing I love more than visiting houses and gardens.  It’s been particularly true during my stays in England because of the vast numbers of homes, estates, palaces and castles that have been preserved and are open to the public.  There are also residences, though mostly not on the same scale in terms of size, nor of sheer numbers, in North America.  I’ve visited several in the eastern states and a few more in the west.  The Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff, Arizona and the Robinson House & Gardens in Beverly Hills come to mind.  And the startling Lotusland garden in Montecito, California.  North America was, and is, a place for dreamers, of grand means and also modest ones, to live out fantasies of what they wanted their lives to be and the houses I’ve seen reflect that fact.


Sleeping porch.




Henry and Georgina Pittock epitomized the idea of the American dream.  He came from England, she from Missouri, and during a life of hard work they succeeded in building, not only a fortune and a house, but a life devoted to family and community.  He was 80 when the family moved into the house in 1914.  Eventually, circumstances brought the unique house to the verge of demolition.  But the City of Portland had the foresight to save it from developers and bought house and land in 1964. It’s a great story that you can read more fully on the Pittock Mansion website.




Kitchen with intriguing sink design.


On a recent trip to Portland, my first, I visited the Pittock Mansion.  Though not long ago, this past September, it was pre-Gumbo so I took pictures of only what interested me in particular, mostly the garden.  And because I confess to being a bit of a hardware queen, the evidence is here, pictures of plumbing.  And WHAT plumbing!  I’d seen similar showers elsewhere, like those of the wrap-around variety in one of the Pittock bathrooms.  I was fascinated then and was again here.  I sincerely believe they should be revived, maybe in one of the new 6 star hotels in the Middle East.  Or at my house.


It's all about the plumbing.


More plumbing.


And yet more plumbing.


The best thing about the house, besides the bathrooms, is the view.  Even if I’d taken pictures of it, it could not possibly have conveyed the grandeur so I urge you to get on up to Portland and have a look for yourselves.  You won’t be sorry.  


And don’t forget to visit the other best thing in Portland, Powell’s City of Books.  It’s even better than you’ve heard. 


Japanese anemones.



Grass at the edge.


Grass close-up.


Hydrangea with green things.



Links for other things in Portland I liked a lot:


Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland’s Chinatown

Rose Trial Garden

The Portland Saturday Market


Portland City Grill,

at the top of the tallest building in Portland.




To read more of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.





Images (14)
  • Grand staircase.
  • Sunroom.
  • Sleeping porch.
  • Kitchen.
  • Pantry.
  • Kitchen with intriguing sink design.
  • It's all about the plumbing.
  • More plumbing.
  • And yet more plumbing.
  • Japanese anemones.
  • Petunias and artemisia.
  • Grass at the edge.
  • Grass close-up.
  • Hydrangea with green things.

Add Comment

Comments (6)

Newest · Oldest · Popular

I also enjoy house visits—especially to the homes of people more or less like me. Palaces tend to irritate me quickly when I think of how the people there treated people like me.


Unfortunately, we don't always treasure and preserve homes like this...and while I've sort of resisted Portland, I think I'll have to go.


For anyone visiting New York, by the way: the Brooklyn Museum's 5th floor has a collection of several 17th and 18th century houses (yes, whole houses!) and of rooms from a number of wealthy 19th-century homes.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Nice phototour, PM!  Interesting as the home and plumbing are, I love your photos of grass best.  I probably have a hundred different images of grass in my archives -- different types, different sizes, color, texture and lighting (am especially fond of backlighting on grass).  Maybe someday we'll need to do a post on just plain old grass.


I, too, love Portland.  It's a perfect weekend getaway town -- small enough, yet big enough to have lots of interesting things to see and do.  You hit on the highlights, especially Powell's, one of the world's great bookstores.  The Saturday Market has some great artisans -- support those guys when you go.


I did come across a great bookstore in Buenos Aires that gives Powell's a run for the money, which I need to prepare for posting someday.  It's in a converted theater, has a great cafe, and dozens of chairs that make you want to sit down and read.  Most of the books were in Spanish, but that didn't matter.  The ambiance was great.  Here's a sample preview of that.

El Ateneo book store, Buenos Aires, Recoleta

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie


Images (1)
  • El Ateneo book store, Buenos Aires, Recoleta

There was an article I posted elsewhere a while back on the world's most beautiful bookstores, you may have seen it.  If I can dig it up I'll post it here.  This one is a great re-use of a theatre building.  MUCH better than carving it up into claustrophobic little theatres, as so many have become.

Link copied to your clipboard.