"Leland Stanford Mansion" Sacramento Things to Do Tip by WulfstanTraveller
Sacramento Things to Do: 168 reviews and 391 photos
During and after the Gold Rush, Leland Stanford and the other "Big Four" - Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker, and Collis Huntington - established themselves as prominent businessmen in Sacramento, then the state's 2nd largest city and primary shipment centre for the goldfields and inland regions. Stanford built a large mansion here that still survives in the heart of downtown Sacramento. before he and the others later created their famous, massive mansions on Nob Hill in San Francisco. (Nearby is the Crocker Art Museum near Old Sacramento, the mansion of the brother of Charles Crocker).
Stanford's mansion is used as state offices for the Governor of California but in 1900, it had been converted into an orphanage and in the 1930s or so it became a home for teenage girls, operating in that capacity until 1987, when the state began to convert it to its current use.
It is open to the public every day from 10-5, via guided tours. However, because it is used for the governor's office and for official meetings with foreign dignitaries and others, these can be cancelled. Also, unfornately, photographs are not allowed inside. A visitor centre on the grounds is free of charge.
It is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Sacramento at 8th and N, only one block off of Capitol Mall (essentially M St). The oldest part of the mansion dates to 1856, when it was originally a much more modest mansions belonging to another merchant, Sheldon Fogus. After the Stanfords bought it, they remodelled it in the 1860s and early 1870s into the grand, 19,000 sq ft, 4-storey French Second Empire-style mansion it is today.
The Stanford mansion was only opened to the public and put into use as the governor's offices in 2005, after many years of painstaking restoration. Luckily, much of the mansion, although detiorated, retained its original elements and the state was able to largely restore both the exterior and interior to the 1870s. This was based on numerous photographs of the house from the 1860s-1870s and in many instances includes the same original artwork and furniture in the same locations as they originally were.
Both the inside and outside are very grand and ornate and this is an unusual chance for anywhere in California, and particularly the region, to visit a home so opulent as this.
Address: 800 N St, Sacramento
Directions: It's in downtown Sacramento at the corner of 8th and N, one block south of Capitol Mall, which is the main east-west street running from the Tower Bridge straight to the Capitol.
Phone: (916) 324-9266
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