When we went to the Empire Mine State Park last spring, we were told that the owner of the mine also had a permanent residence in the bay area that you could also tour. It’s located in Woodside, CA, which is the next town over from were Al grew up, and so we went to see it. The owner, William Bowers Bourn II named it Filoli after the first letters in his motto: Fight for a just cause, Love your fellow man, Live a good life.
He chose a site of 654 acres south of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. The house was built between 1915 and 1917 and the Bourns lived there from 1917 to 1936 when both Mr. and Mrs. Bourn died.
In 1937 the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, owners of the Matson Navigation Company. They kept the original design as much as possible, but added many nautical items such as the large stove in the kitchen taken from a sailing ship.
The carpet in the dining room was once owned by Queen Victoria, and the painting of a dead rabbit over the fireplace was painted in 1703 by Jan Weenix and is the most valuable painting in the mansion. The screen on the left hides the entrance to the kitchen.
This is the drawing-room where the ladies went for tea after dinner while the gentlemen smoked cigars and drank brandy. Al really liked the blue pillows on the sofas.
This is the reception room where guests first gathered when they came to visit. The Chinese statues were once on a temple, are made of wood, and are the God of the Sun and the Goddess of the Moon.
This is my favorite room, I love to read and I love that all the walls were full of books.
Finally, the Ballroom! They had the huge paintings along the sides painted in pastels to match the color scheme of the room. The ceiling is 22 1/2 feet high, to help keep the dancers cool in the days before air conditioning.