Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the McHenry Mansion

was right next to the hotel I stayed at in Modesto, California. On a beautiful fall like afternoon I toured the place. There were volunteer guides that answered questions and pointed out interesting decor facts. It was all decorated inside for Christmas!

Does it look haunted? The construction of Robert McHenry's new home began in 1882, when the village of Modesto was only 12 years old and had about 1700 residents. Robert McHenry was a native of Vermont who came to Stanislaus County in about 1852. The McHenry Mansion was continuously occupied by members of the McHenry family for 36 years, spanning three generations from 1883 to 1919.
The McHenrys retained ownership of the mansion long afer the family left Modesto in 1919. Three years later, in 1923, it was converted into what the newspapers called a "a first class apartment house". The building eventually had 14 apartments, each with kitchenette and bath, including two apartments on the third floor attic space and one in the basement.
The McHenry family sold the house in 1936. In 1976 the Julio Gallo Foundation purchased the house and donated it to the city of Modesto with the understanding that it would be restored to its original state.
This is the only picture I took of inside the mansion. One guide let me do it but just because I took it of the window looking outside to the fall colors. Flash is frowned upon inside the mansion. This was the Robert McHenry Period Bedroom (1883-1896)
The initial renovation was completed in 1983. Appropriate interior decorating completed Modesto's most historic building. In 1985 the important caterer's kitchen was added, joining the Victorian one, greatly facilitating Mansion entertaining. My Christmas cards this year are of the Victorian kitchen.
The home is heavily used for private social affairs such as receptions of all types, parties, teas, dinners, luncheons and official entertaining by the city. Mansion weddings have proved popular, some held in the gardens. A guide told me it only costs $700 to rent for an important event.
It was well worth the couple of hours I spent touring Modesto's beautiful McHenry Mansion.

1 comment:

K said...

Wow, that house is beautiful. I've always dreamed of living in a place like that.