Archive for Mansions
There is, undoubtedly, something magnificent about the grandeur of certain architecture that links our past with our present… Because it is not just about the architecture alone, but the people who created and inhabited the structures themselves. And thanks to several notable one-time Sacramento residents, the elegance and triumphs of the past can still literally be seen and felt by exploring a few of Sacramento’s most infamous mansions.
The Governor’s Mansion was built by a hardware merchant in 1877. It became California’s Executive Mansion in 1903. An example of Second Empire-Italianate architecture, the interior design reflects a mixture of tastes, ranging from the original Victorian builder through all the various governors and first ladies who lived there. With 30 rooms and nine bathrooms, 14-foot ceilings, Persian carpets, Italian marble fireplaces, chandeliers and French mirrors, it was home to thirteen of California’s governors, ending with Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967. [1526 H St., 323-3047, http://www.parks.ca.gov.
The Leland Stanford State Historic Park is a magnificent 19,000-square–foot mansion with soaring 17-foot ceilings, gilded mirrors and exquisitely detailed carved moldings, beautifully restored woodwork, elegant 19th century crystal and bronze light fixtures, historic paintings, 19th-Century style gardens and original period furnishings that belonged to its infamous owners. Originally built in1856, it was later purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford. Leland was a “Big 4” member as well as a California governor. [800 N St., 324-0575, http://www.stanfordmansion.org.
If you care to stay a little longer in one of Sacramento’s history-drenched structures, the Llewellyn Williams Mansion, which is now the International Hostel, is a splendid example of a gold rush era mansion. It has been touted by NorCalHostels.org as “one of California’s best travel deals and America’s most unique hostel.” Built in 1891, the mansion was deemed so historically valuable that it was relocated twice to protect it from demolition. Featuring lavish sitting rooms, stained glass skylights, elegantly carved stairways and chandeliers, its eclectic Italianate-stick style architecture is said to add a whimsical touch to the neighborhood. [925 H St, 443-1691, http://www.norcalhostels.org/sac/
There’s a lot more that can be said… but given I’m short on time, I’ll just share what’s on my mind:
Why does everything in this photo appear to be pointing UP?
For a land such as Sacramento, long inhabited by Native peoples and then suddenly discovered by prospectors and entrepreneurial settlers, there was bound to be explosive change. And as one man’s fortune is often another’s loss, so began the battles amongst groups and individuals. From lovers’ quarrels and duels to the death to shipwrecks and hangings, opportunity at times gave way to chaos in a wild and lawless land. More than just stories to some, ghosts of the past still linger close enough to touch.
Old Sacramento is loaded with ghost stories, and Sacramento’s Midtown and Downtown areas have long given rise to spirit-ed speculations, many of which are just beginning to surface. Take this Midtown mansion at H & 22nd streets… Whether you believe the rumors and tales or not, my bet is that this house will leave at least some sort of impression on you.