In the 1850s, George Washington Patternson traveled from the midwest to California in search of gold. Settling down in what is now Fremont, California, he built his bachelor pad (a 2-bedroom house) in 1857, and later expanded the house with a Queen Victorian addition in 1889. This property (named “Ardenwood”) was later incorporated into the park system (as Ardenwood Farm), and has been open to the public for decades. His mansion (named the “Patterson House”) has been meticulously maintained to ensure nearly all items remain as intact as possible, from the heating system to the hat pins on the dresser. Luckily, I was able to take pictures during the tour. So, let’s go through the house, shall we?
(Although you’ll have to forgive me in advance — while the tour was absolutely fascinating, I didn’t catch every detail from the docent as I was taking pictures, so my descriptions will not be as detailed as they could have been.)
The guest room
The guest room is one of the first rooms in the house that Patterson family guests were immediately ushered into. It has all the fancier items that the family would want to display for guests (like a piano shipped via boat from NYC to California — and it had to go around the southern tip of South America to make the trip!). The family’s children were not allowed inside.
The master bedroom
The master bedroom contained the bed for George and Clara Patterson. The bed is short by modern standards, in part due to shorter statures but also to the thinking at the time, that it was not healthy to sleep completely lying down. Many slept sitting up against the headboard.
The closet & dressing room
These rooms contained many of Clara’s belongings, from her letter desk to her hat pins (to a picture of her and her two sons on her dresser). Clara was quite a woman — she demanded a pre-nup (!), and, when widowed in her 40s, traveled abroad extensively, bringing back chefs from China, Japan, Sweden (and a few other countries that escape me).
More rooms of the house to come!