Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park 800 N. St., 2 blks. from the Capitol, (916) 324-0575. Tu-Sun; tours on hr., 10am-4pm; due to official uses of the mansion, tours may be cancelled or restricted at any time. $5, 6-17 $3.
This restored 4-story, 44-room, Mansard-roofed mansion was originally built for California governor, senator, and railroad baron Leland Stanford and his family. In addition to tours, it is used by the State of California as an official reception center.
An introductory video is screened in the back of the well-edited gift shop about 15 minutes prior to tour time. It reenacts life for the Stanfords in the grand house—they were here only from 1862 to 1863--and then its later 87-year stint as a refuge for children in need. The tour begins in the Ballroom, then moves on to the Billiards Room, the Greater Parlor,the huge Dining Room where formal dinners lasted three hours, the Family Library which doubled as the after-dinner Smoking Room, and the Sitting Room with an unusual whistle intercom. A narrow Bathroom holds a rare tin tub, and Toy Room displays some of Leland Junior’s toys. (Leland Stanford, Jr., after whom Stanford University was named and who was the Stanfords’ only child, was born here in 1868. He died of typhoid fever in 1884, when he was just 15.) The tour ends on the Sun Porch.
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image ©2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers