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A Fine Example of Sacramento Architecture: Leland Stanford Mansion

Mar 22, 2023 | Architect, Architecture, California, Custom Lighting, Featured Professional, Featured Projects, Lighting

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The Leland Stanford Mansion is one of the most prominent examples of Sacramento architecture; its history will blow you away. 

Designed by architect Seth Babson and built by Sheldon Fogus in 1856, Leland Stanford purchased this beautiful piece of Sacramento architecture, built in the Second Empire Victorian style. Mr. Stanford was a successful businessman who was partly responsible for the development of the American West through his investment and involvement as one of the Big Four who founded the Central Pacific Railroad system. 

Mr. Sanford moved into this mansion in 1856 with his wife, Jane, and their only son, Leland Jr. In 1861, Leland Sanford was elected governor of California, and this stunning building became his official residence during his tenure, which was also host to many important political events. After Leland Stanford’s passing in 1893, his wife stayed and cared for the mansion.

In 1900, Jane donated the mansion to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. In 1932, this building was passed on to the Sisters of Mercy and run as an orphanage.

The Leland Stanford Mansion was always of service for various purposes, including a residence for dependent high school girls. The estate maintained a children’s orphanage and home until 1978. During that time, it also kept office space for various state agencies; then, from 1940 through 1982, this piece of Sacramento architecture served as the California Highway Patrol headquarters.

In 1957, the Leland Stanford Mansion was designated a California Historical Landmark.

On December 9th, 1971, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) added the mansion to their roster. On May 28th, 1987, the National Historic Landmark (NHL) added the Leland Stanford Mansion to its list.

In 1884, Leland Stanford Jr. tragically died at 15 years old from typhoid fever. In honor of their son’s passing, Mr. and Mrs. Stanford founded Stanford University in 1891. Unfortunately, Leland Stanford Sr. died two years later of a heart attack. 

Stanford University is one of the most prestigious universities on the west coast. We decided to add this as part of Mr. Stanford’s legacy, and it’s evident that this family gave so much of themselves to our future. Stanford University is not the Leland Stanford Mansion, but one man and his family will always connect them through the legacy they left behind that continues to be of service. You can visit the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park and Museum today

Photo Credit:  Sacramento Valley

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