Brief History of Filoli Estate
The Filoli Mansion and Garden were built and developed by Mr. and Mrs. William Bourn
11, owners of the Empire Gold Mine of Grass Valley. They hired Willis Polk, a well
recognized architect, who had previously designed homes for them in Grass Valley and
San Francisco. The home, built between 1915 and 1917, exhibits a Georgian Revival, architectural style.
Exterior features include a Flemish brick exterior, French windows,
arched double chimneys, a Spanish tile roof, and an overall English Country House resemblance.
Interior features include beautiful carved moldings, inlaid parquet floors, marble fireplace
facades, grand doorways, and 17 foot high ceilings in major rooms. The Mansion remains
in its original setting, with native garden areas and lush landscaping.
The Bourns resided at the estate until their deaths in 1936. The new owners of the
property were Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, in whose possession it remained until 1975,
when Mrs. Roth generously donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The garden at Filoli was designed by Bruce Porter a well known garden architect, and
Isabella Worn, a celebrated floral designer. The Filoli garden is considered one of the
finest examples of a private estate garden representing the Golden Age of American
Gardens. The garden is a succession of separate areas, each with a distinct character.
The house and gardens were arranged to take advantage of the natural surroundings and
vistas. Seasonal horticultural displays are presented throughout the year. See Photos below.
For reservations and information on events and activities, click-on the link (below) to the
Filoli Home Page.