Once we were inside the Pittock Mansion, we were able to walk around with a map and look at the public and private rooms. They were all furnished with proper period furniture, but few of the actual Pittock family things, due to roof leaks and water damage. The furniture we saw was mostly donated by wealthy Portland families anxious to play a part in this celebration of history.
In the Music Room stood a grand piano and harp, with comfy furniture and magnificent views of the garden and city beyond. I can imagine the Pittock daughters playing for friends and family here. The Library was nearby, which seemed to be used for family card games as well as study.
On the same floor was the formal dining room, furnished in dark wood, along with a heavy Chinese screen. Close by, smaller and brighter, was the breakfast room, which was where I would like to eat.
The formal entrance was a small round foyer, which seemed almost undersized for such a fine house. Mirroring that small round room was another, far more ornate one, labeled “The Turkish Smoking Room.” This carved and painted room was where the gentlemen of the day could close the door to the house, open the door to the outside, and enjoy their cigars without stinking the house up. This elaborate room was only used by guests; Mr. Pittock didn’t smoke.
I especially enjoyed looking at the kitchen, where the finest 1915 appliances were on display. The wood burning stove looked like an iron and ceramic altar to the worship of food preparation. The sink had a suspended dish drainer that was ingenious, but seemed small for the number of dishes that would have been washed, with nearly a dozen people living in the house.
Of course, I took note of many of the things because I need to know what sorts of stoves, sinks, and such I can use in my story. None of my characters were as rich as the Pittocks, but I got to feel, for a while, that I was walking through my 1903 Portland.
I will tell you about the family’s private rooms tomorrow!