Stanford Mansion, California

Walking around this wonderful spring day around the Capitol grounds was refreshing. Yes the weather could be hot but the shades of trees surrounding the area were enough to enjoy the view. But we have to go to our next destination and that was the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park located in N Street.

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In front of the house

When I saw the mansion I suddenly recall that I’ve been there 6 years ago with my parents, Sam and Deelow. We made a stopover on our way to Lake Tahoe and took a brief look at the State Capitol and the Stanford Mansion. Me, Long and Laura took some pictures of the mansion and cross the street and to its gardens. We saw the California Historical Marker which was located on the right side. This is the marker.

“The house originally designed in 1857 by Seth Babson and was purchased by Leland Stanford in 1861. It served as the State Executive Office from 1861 to 1867, before the completion of the State Capital. It was later extensively remodeled and enlarged. In 1900 Jane Lathrop Stanford gave the house to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento to create the Stanford-Lathrop Memorial Home for Friendless Children.”

The Mansion

The house was open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. While the last tour begins at 4:00 p.m. After walking in the front garden we went up the stairs and knock on the front door and we were greeted by the nice lady which was the tour guide. She led us in and reminded us that photography was strictly forbidden which was sad. 


So I didn’t take any pictures while inside the building. She led us through the front rooms which was the living room where they entertained guests. She show the remodeled that occurred. Then near the back where they have the original billiard pool and the kitchen. Here is the beginning of the history.

“Built about 1856 as a two-story structure for prominent businessman Shelton Fogus, it was sold in 1861to Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific Railroad Corporation, who became California’s eighth governor in January of 1862.  Soon thereafter, Stanford added new landscaping and a wing to the east side of the building to become his governor’s office.  One exuberant writer characterized the property as “the most perfect specimen of a house in all of California.”

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Original structure

After serving a two-year term as governor, Stanford returned to private life and traveled frequently on railroad business.  The State then rented Stanford’s furnished home for the next governor, Frederick Low. Henry Haight, who succeeded Low as governor, rented Stanford’s office until a new governor’s office was opened in the Capitol in 1869.  Meanwhile, the Stanfords moved back into the home in late 1867, and Jane Lathrop Stanford gave birth to Leland Junior the following spring.  Stanford University was later founded in memory of the boy, who died of typhoid in his teens.

By early 1872 the Stanfords had remodeled and greatly enlarged the home.  The fashionable four-story structure they created better suited their extended family and growing public stature.  The next year the Central Pacific Railroad offices moved to San Francisco and the Stanford family soon followed, though they still used their Sacramento home on occasion.”

Stanford Family

We climbed the grand, wood staircase to the second floor to the bedrooms where we saw pictures and paintings of the Stanford family. What got stuck in my mind was the bathroom. They had heating that goes up to the second floor bathroom, which was rare.  The window in the bathroom was patched up in the wall. It was done before the extension that window used to look outside, but after the renovation that became a hallway. Then we were taken to the large room which used to be the bedroom of the orphans who used to live there. Here is where they came from.

“In 1900, the widowed Jane gave the home and most of its furnishings to the Diocese of Sacramento to become a home for “friendless children.”  For nearly 90 years, it was a haven for youngsters, mostly women, of various ages and backgrounds.  In the late 1950’s, the expense of upkeep led Bishop Alden Bell to write to the governor to suggest the State buy the home to restore.  The State purchased the historic property in 1978, which included some remaining Stanford furnishings.

State Parks staff and docents fascinated visitors with ‘archeology tours’ of the building, as painstaking investigations by historians and archeologists began to reveal some of the secrets of its construction.  In 1989 the State Parks Commission approved a General Plan, which envisioned the unique dual role for the  rehabilitated Stanford residence.  The Mansion project gained momentum in 1991 with the formation of the Leland Stanford Mansion Foundation, which created the opportunity for private fund-raising to assist the monumental project.”

We didn’t climb up the third floor as our tour guide led us back down stairs to the side patio. She told us that when Arnold Schwarzenegger became the Governor, the house was always busy with him entertaining his famous guests. She was very helpful and nice to us. We bought some souvenirs at the store inside the house. Such as my mug, then we said goodbye to her and went out down the ramp and to the side gardens. We didn’t stay long and went to our next place. I was deeply disappointed that I didn’t get any pictures of the interior of the house. But we learn a lot from the house of the famous Stanford family of California.

Here is the link for more information:

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Say Cheez!

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