The Spanish Mission of San Rafael California

One of the most interesting stories pertaining to the old Spanish Missions of California regards Mission San Rafael Arcangel in San Rafael California. This is a very convenient  mission to visit being located just about twenty miles north of San Francisco along U.S. Hwy 101.

san rafael arcangel

San Rafael Arcangel, San Rafael California

If your vacation plans include San Francisco, make certain to head north over the Golden Gate and visit historic San Rafael.

Mission San Rafael Arcangel Replica 

The original mission replica you’ll explore today, the one dedicated in 1949, was built according to original specifications known at the time.

There were no photos of the original structure therefore the replica was built based on what was known with some variations. The small church building faces west whereas the original faced east. The site location is next to the St. Raphael Parish of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The replica site is approximate since other church buildings had been built adjacent prior to 1949.

Today’s visitor will notice that the old mission replica is in no way adorned as are most all  other California missions. This was because, as mentioned above, Mission San Rafael Arcangel was not originally planned to become an official stand alone mission. Built as a branch of Mission Dolores, the church building was a fairly plain unadorned structure.

san rafael arcangel bells

San Rafael Arcangel historic bells

The Problems at Mission Dolores

The realities at Mission Dolores in San Francisco were such it’s believed that 5,000 Native Americans were buried at the mission cemetery. Disease ran rampant at the mission site and as was the case with much contact between Europeans and Native Americans, the Indians were easily affected by European bred diseases. This phenomena began from the very first contact between Native American and European. This problem continued into the 1800’s all across the western frontier.

A Change of Climate

The site of Mission San Rafael Arcangel was chosen for a reason. The area which in present day San Rafael California had much more sunshine and much less fog than the San Francisco peninsula to the south.

mission dolores san francisco

Original Mission Dolores, San Francisco, CA

The mountains to the west of San Rafael acted as a buffer to the weather coming off the Pacific Ocean. The regular fog and damp conditions caused illness. The San Francisco peninsula lacked the natural barrier that San Rafael enjoyed.. The added sunshine and generally milder weather was sought to help the healing process. The move to establish the mission in San Rafael seemed to work quite well. Ailing Native Americans seemed to recover very well at this new more sunny and mild location.

Visiting Mission San Rafael Arcangel 

A day trip north of the Golden Gate Bridge to Mission San Rafael Arcangel is an excellent addition to a Bay Area trip planner. The story of the Spanish Missions is really a vivid story of the very beginnings of California settlement. There’s much to learn visiting any of the old missions and Mission San Rafael Arcangel tells us a very unique part of that story.

st. raphael arcangel catholic church

St. Raphael Arcangel Catholic Church

From San Francisco, drive north on U.S. Highway 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge about fifteen miles and exit at Central San Rafael (Exit 452). The mission is located at 1104 Fifth Avenue about four blocks west of the freeway.

Driving to San Rafael from the east bay area allows you to cross the bay via the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge. After you merge onto U.S. Hwy 101 northbound take exit 452 as described above.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

The Last Days of the California Stagecoach

World War Two Attacks on the West Coast

California and the Old Spanish Missions

sonoma barracks

Old Sonoma Barracks

For those making a trip to the Sonoma wine country from San Francisco can easily visit both Mission San Rafael Arcangel and the Sonoma Mission in Sonoma California during a day trip. Mission Sonoma (Mission San Francisco Solano) was the last of the twenty-one missions built and was actually constructed by the Mexican government after their ouster of the Spaniards.

The Mission Sonoma is located in the heart of Sonoma California, between the cities of Napa and Santa Rosa off State Hwy 12.

The town of Sonoma is also in the heart of the beautiful Sonoma Valley wine country which this area north of San Francisco Bay is so noted for. It’s also adjacent to the popular Napa Valley wine country. The old Spanish mission and the entire town of Sonoma is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.

Parts of Sonoma State Historic Park include the Mission San Francisco Solano, the Blue Wing Inn, Sonoma Barracks, the Toscano Hotel, the Servants Quarters Vallejo’s Home. Visitors typically walk through the streets surrounding Sonoma’s historic central plaza. Maps are available at the Sonoma Visitors Center.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)


Tour the WWII Submarine U.S. Pampanito

The USS Pampanito Goes to War

Between 1944-45 the Pampanito completed six war patrols in the Pacific Theater. After her shakedown cruise in the Atlantic, the USS Pampanito headed directly for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and arrived there in February 1944. Her deployment was during the latter part of the Pacific war.

world war two submarine pampanito

USS Pampanito

When you tour the USS Pampanito you will get a good feel of the last few years of the war. This was the period after the Battle of Midway when the U.S. was quite on the offensive in the western Pacific. Her first war patrol took her to Saipan and Guam. She had to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs of damage caused by Japanese depth charges. An interesting thing when you tour the Pampanito today are the separate displays of items such as depth charges, torpedos (shown above right) and torpedo hatches. Your visit to the vessel is more than just a tour of a submarine. It’s really a well rounded presentation of World War Two submarine warfare in general.

The Patrols of the U.S.S. Pampanito

The Pampanito’s second war patrol took her near the Japanese home islands where she almost was almost hit by torpedos from a Japanese sub. Her third patrol was in the South China Sea where she inadvertently sunk a Japanese troop ship which was transporting British POW’s. This was quite common of the Japanese to bring some POW’s back to the home islands. The Pampanito picked up over 70 survivors of that sinking. The fourth patrol was off Formosa where she sunk a 1,200 ton Japanese cargo ship. The fifth patrol was in the Gulf of Siam where another cargo vessel was sunk and then back to the Gulf of Siam for her sixth patrol.

us navy world war two submarines

USS Pampanito SS 383

After the sixth patrol the USSA Pampanito sailed back to Pearl Harbor then on to San Francisco for an overhaul. She then went back to Pearl Harbor but was called back to San Francisco because of the war’s end.


The USS Pampanito was decommissioned at Mare Island next to the North Bay town of Vallejo California in December 1945. It’s not far east of Vallejo in the Sacramento River where the Navy stored many old World War Two vessels in what was called the “mothball fleet“. The question is…what does a perfectly good submarine do after the war and after being decommissioned? Not a whole lot until 1962 when the Pampanito was assigned as a Naval Reserve Training Ship at Vallejo. Finally in December 1971 the USS Pampanito was officially taken off Navy registration records, almost thirty years after the launching of this historic United States naval ship.

world war two diesel submarines

Another view of the USS Pampanito

Today, the USS Pampanito is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an official National Historic Landmark.

Just as the ship berthed behind her, the Jeremiah O’Brien, the Pampanito was recognized as being an invaluable asset perfect for historic preservation and for the public to enjoy and learn from. While the Jeremiah O’Brien represents the all important Liberty Ship program, the Pampanito represents the heroic contributions of submariners during war.

Visit the USS Pampanito

The USS Pampanito is now owned and operated by the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association which displays several historic ships.

world war two submarine torpedo

World War II submarine torpedo

The submarine was transferred to the Maritime Park Association in 1976 and was opened for public tours in 1982. When you visit the Pampanito you’ll pass the Maritime National Park which displays several more historic ships like the side wheeler Eureka which among other assignments ferried passengers and automobiles over San Francisco Bay during the early 1900’s.

If you enjoy exploring old vessels and World War Two naval ships, you’ll absolutely enjoy these displays adjacent to Fishermans Wharf at the San Francisco Maritime Park. It’s one of the very finest displays of maritime vessels in the United States.

See these additional Trips Into History articles on the links below…

World War Two Attacks on America’s West Coast

A Civil War Submarine

Today, this classic World War Two submarine also makes a great venue for group sleepovers. Organizations such as the Cub Scouts have taken advantage of this opportunity to spend the night on the Pampanito using it’s 48 bunk beds. Small waves churned up by passing cargo ships often give the Pampanito a slight roll so those who spend the night aboard may get an authentic sailing experience. The Pampanito also conducts educational programs for adults and youngsters.

submarine torpedo loading hatch

Original torpedo loading hatch from the USS Pampanito

Take a fascinating tour back to the times of World War Two and the U.S. Navy in wartime by visiting the magnificent floating museum which is the submarine USS Pampanito.

To get to the submarine on Pier 45 in San Francisco, walk straight through the Musee Mecanique (entrance shown at right)  at Fishermans Wharf and turn left on the pier. At that point you will see both the Pampanito and the Jeremiah O’Brien behind her.

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

The Last Days of the California Stagecoach

California stagecoach history is filled with colorful characters. The infamous stagecoach robber Black Bart and the famous stagecoach driver, commonly referred to as whip, Charley Parkhurst are but two. Stagecoaches transported people and cargo and appeared with the California Gold Rush and California’s statehood.

wells fargo concord stage

Concord Stagecoach model at Wells Fargo Museum

California was no different than other regions of the country. The stagecoach was replaced little by little by the expanding railroad. The iron horse offered much more speed and comfort than even the rugged and handsome Concord coach.

San Juan Bautista, the Last Great Stagecoach Hub

South of San Francisco and about 40 miles north of Monterey California is the settlement of San Juan Bautista, during Spanish times called simply San Juan. The site of Mission San Juan Bautista, the fifteenth of the twenty-one Spanish missions, and located along the El Camino Real, San Juan was a busy hub of stagecoach activity just prior to the time when the Southern Pacific Railroad began expanding further down the coast toward Los Angeles and San Diego.

An interesting fact about the old mission is that when you visit it today you’ll hear the toll of the original mission bells from the late 1700’s.

mission san juan bautista

Mission San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista was the site where a passenger might arrive by train and transfer to a stagecoach to continue his or her journey further south.

The busiest places in San Juan Bautista were the Plaza Hotel and the Plaza Stables directly on the town plaza. An interesting side note if you travel to San Juan Bautista is that the plaza is the only remaining Spanish plaza in California. The plaza is just where it was when the town was built by the Spaniards. Other California plazas have been long gone and paved over or plowed over. It’s a real treat to visit.

The plaza area and several of the surrounding structures are now a part of the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. The 1859 hotel, built over old Spanish barracks, and the livery stable are a part of the state park.

plaza hotel san juan bautista

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel in San Juan Bautista California was opened in 1859 by an Italian immigrant named Angelo Zanetta. The structure was built by the Spanish in 1814 and Zanetta turned it into a hotle in 1859.  It was opened as a one story hotel and later a second story was added. The Plaza Hotel was well known for it’s fine food and it’s list of guests came from around the world.

The Livery Stables

Up to eleven stagecoaches left San Juan Bautista each day and the livery stable was a busy place. The livery stable also served as the blacksmith shop.

You can just imagine the activity around the livery stables during the 1860’s and early 1870’s with these many teams of horses being harnessed and unharnessed daily.

Today, the tourist to San Juan Bautista can see the exhibits of old wagons and stagecoaches.

livery stable san juan bautista california

Exhibits at old San Juan Bautista Livery Stables

Bypassed By The Railroad

The fate of San Juan Bautista as a growing settlement was at the hands of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The town’s fortunes were dealt a severe blow when the railroad bypassed the town beginning in 1876 and through Hollister instead, about ten miles to the east.

The Stagelines Slowly Vanish

Stagecoach travel along the California coast receded at about the same rate that the Southern Pacific completed rail lines to the south. By the year 1877 the Southern Pacific controlled about 85% of all California rail traffic. At the same time the Southern Pacific was engaged in a project to extend a transcontinental route eastward from Yuma. Competitors who also wanted to take advantage of this southern route across the country included the Texas & Pacific Railroad out of going west out of Dallas and the Santa Fe Railroad. As it turned out, the Southern Pacific prevailed.

The links below will take you to additional articles you may enjoy…

 Juan Bautista de Anza and the Founding of San Francisco

California and the Old Spanish Missions

Some excellent books regarding the famous California stagecoach routes include Stagecoaching on the California Coast: The Coastline Stage from Los Angeles to San Juan by Maury Hoag…The Golden Road: The Story of California’s Mission Trail by Felix Riesenberg…Cockeyed Charley Parkhurst: The West’s Most Unusual Stagewhip by Craig McDonald.

The Last Stagecoach Line

In 1901 the rail line was completed between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This marked the end of the California coastal stagecoach service.

plaza hotel california

View of Plaza Hotel across the San Juan Bautista plaza

Today, several communities have made the effort to commemorate the stage routes with markers. One good example of this are the signs placed between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos. This is a forty mile stretch of the old stagecoach trail. One of the remaining stagecoach stops you can visit today in this section is the Cold Springs Tavern. The address is 5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara.

The stagecoach route north to south generally followed the El Camino Real, the old Spanish highway of which San Juan Bautista was located. Parts of U.S. Hwy 101 today still follow this path and others do not.

Another section of the old stagecoach route you can explore today is the  Old Santa Susana Stage Road located at the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. Take a hike today and you may still be able to see the wagon ruts on the Devil’s Slide section of the trail. This area is also included on the National Register of Historic Places. The park is located in Los Angeles County where the Santa Susana Mountains join the Simi Hills.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History)




The Early 48er’s of the California Gold Rush

One of the most publicized stories concerning the California Gold Rush was the fascinating story of the 49er’s and their flooding of northern California by land and by sea. Likewise, one of the not so publicized stories has to do with the very first Gold Rush prospectors, the 48er’s, the hordes who stampeded to the Sierra Nevada foothills before the legendary 49er’s ever arrived.

What occurred in late 1848 was in many respects the opening salvo of the great gold rush of California.

gold rush water cannon

Mining Water Cannon exhibit at Nevada City California

A Timely Speech and a Gold Rush

The exodus to the California gold fields began with a speech in San Francisco’s Plymouth Square.

The gold in California was discovered at a John Sutter’s sawmill in January of 1848 by James Marshall who was working for Sutter. Sutter wanted badly to keep the news secret and directed his employees to do so. Firstly, Sutter thought that this gold could help pay off his debts which were many. Secondly, a rush of prospectors to the area would jeopardize his land holdings and farming operations. Obviously something like this wouldn’t remain a secret for long. San Francisco newspapers reported on the finding in March but not much came of it. Finally it all came to a head in May of 1848 and with “proof” by way of a man named Sam Brannan, a storekeeper in Sutter’s Creek.

Sam Brannon became aware of the discovery at John Sutter’s sawmill from Mormans who lived in the area of the American River. Brannon obtained a bottle filled with gold dust and proceeded, when he felt the time was right and his stores along the American River fully stocked, to make a speech in Plymouth Square where he declared to the crowd…”Gold! Gold! Gold from American River!” While rumors about the gold discovery were known by many, albeit without seeing the gold itself, Brannon’s declaration and exciting exhibit offered proof to the rumors. This was enough to stir things up.

stamp mill gold rush

Ten Stamp Mill exhibit, Nevada City California

There wasn’t an instant stampede and the local papers at first treated this newest story mildly. That also didn’t last long. In a few days time there began a tremendous exodus out of San Francisco and other coastal settlements.

The newspapers actually closed down because the owners and employees felt more money could be made along the American River. Ships that arrived in San Francisco found crews deserting and heading east into the Sierra Nevada foothills. Stores closed when owners abandoned them. These were the 48er’s. These were the people residing in California at the time and they had the first pickings.

New York newspapers reported on the discovery in August 1848 but it would be months before the eastern population could make it all the way to northern California. Their choices included a journey overland, sailing around Cape Horn and up the coast or sailing to Panama and across a malarial jungle to a port on the Pacific coast. Any of these choices meant months of travel.

sutters fort exhibits

Exhibit inside Sutter’s Fort, Sacramento California

The Early Pickings for Gold

It is a fact that the earliest prospecting for California gold was by far the easiest. In some cases there was very little work involved finding the mineral. Some described it as being everywhere. It was said that out of the ten thousand prospectors in the gold fields during the fall of 1848 it was hard to find anyone who didn’t find $20 worth of gold each day. Five prospectors using picks and shovels uncovered $75,000 worth of gold in a three month period. Gold was found using only crow bars and a knives. Businessmen hired workers to hunt for gold thus increasing their profits. One person was known to promise local Indians relatively cheap gifts if they would bring him gold.

Selling to the Prospectors

Another way to make a fortune during the historic winter of 1848-1849 was to sell to the prospectors. It was said that $40 could be charged for a single meal. Horses could be sold for $300 that prior to the gold rush might have cost $6. Eggs could sell for $3 each and butter $6 per pound. If you were able to obtain the merchandise to sell, as Sam Brannon did, a fortune could be made without even leaving your store. Some smart prospectors invested their new found gold wealth into enterprises bringing goods via ship up from Mexico to sell to the miners. Shovels and picks would fetch $100 as did boots and a gallon of whiskey.

gold miners statue auburn california

Gold Miners statue, Auburn California

The First of the Forty-Niners

The first of the Forty-Niners were actually seen in southern California as early as August 1848. These were the people too anxious to get to California to wait for spring.

Knowing about the tragedy that the Donner Party met attempting to cross the Sierra Nevada range in the winter, these first arrivals to California took the southern Texas to San Diego route. This took them across the deserts of the southwest and over the Yuma Crossing to California. From San Diego it was north over the El Camino Real to northern California.

After the initial group of Forty-Niners reached the California gold fields thousands would follow and not only from the U.S. People from Europe, South America and Asia arrived in droves.

The Earliest Pickings Were the Best

By the third and fourth year of the Gold Rush the largest part of the precious metal was mined. Compared to the bonanza found by the first miners, especially those from 1848, there were people who arrived later and left disappointed. Nevertheless, fortunes were still made but the pickings were nothing like what was seen during that first winter of 1848-1849.

Below are links to two additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy…

The Steamboat and Sacramento

A Six Month Voyage Chasing For Gold

A Visit to the Gatekeeper’s Museum / Tahoe City CA

old town sacramento firehouse

Structure in Old Town Sacramento California

Visit California’s Gold Rush Museums and Parks

North Star Mining Museum–   The museum located in Grass Valley California, just north of Auburn, is housed in the former North Star Mine powerhouse. The mining displays include machinery, handcrafted tools, a 20-stamp mill, Cornish Pump and a 30-foot Pelton Wheel.

Sacramento History Museum– Located in historic Old Town Sacramento, the museum will give you a lesson in everything gold rush. John Sutter, riverboat traffic, old mine replicas, Portuguese and Chinese exhibits, and the history of Sacramento’s first fifty years are all a part of this fascinating museum.

Columbia State Historic Park–   Gold was discovered here at Columbia California in 1850. Columbia yielded $87 million in gold at 1860s prices and was known as “The Queen of the Southern Mines”.

gold rush exhibits nevada city

Mine Ore Car exhibit, Nevada City California

Gold Bug Park-  The main feature of the park located in Placerville is the Gold Bug Mine, a small hard rock gold mine. Featured ar two lighted shafts of the Gold Bug Mine, one is 362 feet in length and the other 147 feet long. These are open to the public for self guided tours.

Chew Kee Store-   Constructed in the early 1850s, this rammed earth adobe located in Fiddletown served as an herb shop during the Gold Rush and is the only remnant of the once thriving Fiddletown Chinese Community. The building is now a museum operated by the Fiddletown Preservation Society.

Kennedy Mine-   The Kennedy Mine Foundation offers guided and self guided surface tours of the historic Kennedy Mine located in Jackson. View the 125 foot high head frame, mine buildings, restored mine office, the remnants of the largest stamp mill in the Mother Lode and more.

Three excellent books about the California Gold Rush, the Forty-Eighters and the Forty-Niners include The Golden Road by author Felix Riesenberg Jr., … They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush by author JoAnn Levy and Bret Harte’s Gold Rush by author Bret Harte.


(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History)

Leland Stanford Mansion / Sacramento CA

On the corner of 8th Street and N Street in downtown Sacramento California is a magnificent home that at one time was the residence of Leland Stanford, an east coast educated lawyer, one of the Big Four railroad men of California, a California governor, a United States Senator and the founder of Stanford University.

stanford mansion sacramento

Stanford Mansion, Sacramento CA

Today, this historic mansion is a California State  Historic Park and a federally protected site.

Like many men of wealth in northern California during the latter half of the 1800’s, their fortunes originated with the famous California Gold Rush. In Stanford’s case, he created his wealth as a merchant and wholesaler during the gold boom years. It’s often been said that the real financial winners during the gold rush were the merchants who sold vital equipment and supplies to the prospectors and miners rather than the people who actually panned and dug for the yellow ore.

Leland Stanford’s two brothers were very successful merchants in Sacramento and after moving west from New York State, he also became a successful merchant selling to miners and settlers. Leland Stanford went into the mercantile business with a good friend by the name of Captain Nicholas T. Smith. Their business operated out of Cold Springs in El Dorado County.

leland stanford mansion state historic park

Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park

Business Success Led to Political Success

With his success in business Stanford met several influential people including hardware merchants by the names of Huntington and Hopkins as well as dry goods dealer Charles Crocker. Stanford along with the businessmen mentioned above formed the Republican Party of California.

In 1861 Stanford would become the president of the newly formed Central Pacific Railroad and also become the Republican nominee for governor. The Central Pacific Railroad was formed by Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins, all names that were significant in early California’s growth. Leland Stanford was sworn in as Governor of the State of California on January 10, 1862 and the Central Pacific Railroad would go on to be the western link of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869.

california state parks

Another view of the Stanford Mansion architecture

The story of how the Central Pacific Railroad scaled the Sierra Nevada mountain range is a fascinating story itself. Constructing the rail lines over Donner Summit through winter snow storms and the building of snow tunnels to cover certain sections of track from snowfalls was one of the most daunting feats in the history of railroad construction. The work performed building the rail line over the Sierra Nevada by Chinese laborers is another unique story in itself.

The Leland Stanford Mansion

The mansion was built in 1857 by Sacramento merchant Shelton Fogus. Stanford purchased the mansion in 1861 for $8,000.

Built in the Renaissance Revival style, the mansion would become known as the “Gubernatorial Mansion” after Stanford’s election as governor. An interesting historical fact about this home is that three California governors conducted the business of the State of California from this massive residence. These were Leland Stanford, Frederic F. Low, and Henry H. Haight. Stanford and Low actually resided in the home during their terms as governor while Haight used only the office until the construction of the California State Capitol was completed in 1869.

leland stanford home

Elegant formal entrance of the Stanford Mansion

Stanford’s Founding of Stanford University

Stanford University resides on 740 acres land that Leland Stanford purchased  for a farm. The acreage was located between Menlo Park and Mayfield.

While touring Turkey in 1884 Stanford’s son Leland Jr. was stricken with typhoid fever and died at the age of 15. It was this tragic death that served as the impetus for Stanford University’s founding. Stanford declared that he wanted to do something for the children of California. He decided that the bulk of his fortune would be dedicated for education. Construction started in 1887 and the university opened in 1891.

Palo Alto came into being as a place where both students and faculty could reside. The city of Palo Alto where the university is located incorporated in 1894.

The links below are to additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy…

Sacramento History / The Steamboat

Historic Central Pacific Railroad Locomotives

A Six Month Voyage Chasing for Gold

huntington and hopkins hardware store

Restored Huntington and Hopkins Hardware Store in Old Town Sacramento CA

The Leland Stanford Mansion State Park Today

The State of California took over the property in 1978 with the idea of designating it as a State Park.

It was many years however until funds were gathered together to restore the old mansion. In 1991 Peter McCuen, a Sacramento businessman and former Stanford professor, helped put together the Leland Stanford Mansion Foundation. The organization’s goal was to help raise the funds to restore the Mansion to have it serve as the Governor’s protocol center and as a historic park with public tours.

Funds were secured by a public/private effort and the restoration took place to return the mansion to the way it looked during the years it was occupied by the Stanfords.

Today the Leland Stanford Mansionis used occasionally for California state functions including the welcoming of various important visitors in addition to it’s public tours. Usually groups of twenty people at a time are allowed on tours. You’ll find very knowledgeable tour guides who will tell you about the mansion’s history as well as the charitable endeavors performed by the Stanford family. One of these is the work taken on by Mrs. Stanford to help establish the Stanford Children’s Hospital.

The house truly is enormous and fascinating with the entire building taking up about 19,000 sq.ft. The largest room is the ballroom. The mansion has been beautifully restored and decorated. The interior of the mansion is stunningly beautiful and many will say that there’s a good deal  of railroad symbolism depicted in the furniture.

Tour Information

Public tours are operated by the California Department of Parks. The Stanford Mansion Visitor Center and Museum Store is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Guided tours are offered on most days between 10:00 and 5:00, with the last tour at 4:00 p.m. More information to help plan your visit can be found on website

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History)