Hilltop Home is Legacy of Early Newspaper Publisher Henry Pittock
The architecturally stunning historic home in Portland’s West Hills draws tourists for a taste of the lifestyle of one of Portland’s most prominent pioneer citizens.
Henry and Georgiana Pittock built their mansion on 46 acres of land overlooking the city near the end of their active lives at the forefront of Portland’s development into a major West Coast city. Completed in 1914, the mansion was designed and built by architect Edward Foulkes. It successfully fuses several styles and incorporates some of the era’s most progressive features including a shower that sprays from multiple directions, a central vacuum system, and intercoms.
The interior is richly ornate, with a curving staircase, wide windows, and many of the original period furnishings, including photos of the Pittock family.
Georgiana Pittock was an avid gardener and kept endless flowers blooming at the mansion. Today, beds are still abloom with flowers. There is no charge for strolling the grounds and taking in the expansive views of the city below and Mt. Hood in the distance.
Visitors are welcome to picnic on the lawn or stop at one of the garden benches to enjoy the scenery.
Oregonian Publisher & Business Entrepreneur
Henry Pittock was born in England and made the trip west by wagon train from Pennsylvania in 1853. Nineteen years old and penniless, he began work for the Weekly Oregonian, owned by Thomas Dryer. In 1860, Pittock took over ownership of the newspaper. Over the years he built it into the major daily that is familiar to Portlanders today.
Pittock’s business empire grew to include pulp and paper, real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, ranching, and silver mining. His entrepreneurial adventures grew with the city, which changed from a small river town to a city of a quarter-million people by the time the Pittocks built their mansion.
Dedicated to Community Service
Like her husband, Georgiana Burton Pittock was an Oregon pioneer. As a child, she had come to Portland with her parents from Iowa. At age 15 she married Henry, beginning their long life together that would grow to a family of six children and 18 grandchildren.
Georgiana left a legacy of community service that is remembered even today. She helped initiate daycare for working mothers and housing for single working women and worked with the Woman’s Union. Drawing on her love of flowers and gardening, she is also credited with helping organize Portland’s signature summer event, the annual Rose Festival.
As an avid outdoorsman, Henry Pittock was part of the first documented party to climb Mt. Hood and was a member of the still-active Portland hiking club, The Mazamas.
Henry and Georgiana Pittock were known as being dedicated to family and their community. After their deaths, family members continued to live in the house until 1958 when it was put on the market. Citizens, concerned it would be demolished, called for its preservation. In 1964 the city purchased the home. It was restored and opened to the public in 1965.
In addition to the main house, there is a gate lodge where servants once lived and a gift shop.
The mansion stands 1,000 feet above downtown Portland at 3229 NW Pittock Drive. It can be reached by heading west on West Burnside Street, continuing uphill 1.2 miles past W. Burnside’s intersection with Northwest 23rd Avenue. A sign on the right-hand side marks the turnoff.
The home is open daily except in January when it is closed for the month. Winter hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. From July 1 to August 31, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Cost is $8 for adults, with senior and youth discounts. The phone number for the site is 503-823-3624.
Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Drive, Portland, OR 97210.