A Brief History of Portland's Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion | © Chrismiceli / WikiCommons

Nestled high in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, the Pittock Mansion sits majestically on 46 acres of land, boasting a panoramic view of the city, Willamette River, and the Cascade Mountains. The French Renaissance-style château has been an icon of the Rose City since its construction in 1909 and acts as a history lesson on one of Portland’s most influential, respected, and wealthiest men at the turn of the 20th century: Henry Pittock.

Pittock arrived in Oregon from Pennsylvania “barefoot and without a cent” in 1853, but all of that quickly changed. After eight years of working as a typesetter for the Oregonian, the 25-year-old was given ownership of the debt-ridden newspaper after his boss Thomas J. Dryer, was hired as part of President Lincoln’s administration. Pittock made it his life’s work to transform the paper into a lucrative business that is still printing today.
As Pittock’s fortune grew, he and his wife Georgiana dreamed up what would become the Pittock Mansion. Built by the Oregon-born architect Edward T. Foulkes, the 16,000 square-foot marvel was ready for habitation in 1914, and the Pittocks, along with eight family members, promptly moved in.

Pittock mansion staircase

Despite its massive size, the home was designed for a family with its largest room being the children’s playroom. A large marble central staircase took up a third of the mansion’s space and connected three stories. An adventurer at heart, Henry is rumored to be one of the first mountain climbers to reach Mount Hood’s summit in 1857. Subsequently, he positioned a mirror on the west wall of his grandiose Edwardian dining room to reflect the great mountain, so everyone could have a view during meals.
But the views didn’t stop in the dining room. The house itself was built in a unique oval-shaped design with wings attached at a 45-degree angle to ensure the most awe-inspiring views of the city all over the expansive abode.
Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Pittock were only able to enjoy their masterpiece for a few short years. Georgiana passed away in 1918 and Henry a year later. As the story goes, the night before he died, the great adventurer, stricken with grippe, asked to be carried to an east bay window to look at the vista across the city that held his legacy one last time. He passed away on January 28, 1919, at the age of 83. Other family members occupied the estate until 1958, and for years after that, the once-breathtaking architectural feat laid dormant.

View of Portland from Pittock Mansion

It was in the mid-sixties when Portland’s local treasure made way as a city-wide landmark. Portlanders rallied together to help the city purchase the estate for $225,000, finally labeling it a landmark. After 15 months of restoration, the mansion opened to the public in 1965.
Five decades after first opening its doors to the community, the Pittock Mansion is a magnificent reminder of how Portland grew into the city it is today. Classic Houses of Portland calls it “the most beloved…of all the great houses of Portland….It typifies the success of the nineteenth-century American entrepreneurial spirit.” It also signifies the adventurous spirit of Henry Pittock and the great Pacific Northwest, acting as a stop on Forest Park’s famous Wildwood Trail.
Replete with rich history, breathtaking interior features, and the best views of the city from 1,000 feet above sea level, Henry Pittock’s legacy will always be remembered within the walls of his “House on the Hill.”

Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 10 am-4 pm

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.