James Lick Mansion

Santa Clara, California

Lick Mansion-Photo

James Lick was a native of Pennsylvania and a carpenter and piano maker by trade. Lick was a shrewd trader, amassing fortunes in land and various business ventures in South America, San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley. After accumulating $30,000 in South America, he came to San Francisco in 1848. In 1855, Lick built a four-stone water-powered flour mill on the Guadalupe River. The Mansion was constructed in 1858 and contains a lovely mahogany interior. The house, although reminiscent of southern plantation homes, is considered to be the Victorian- Italiante style. The design was similar to his Lick House Hotel in San Francisco.
It is believed that Lick built the home, originally 24 rooms, to provide a home for himself, his son and his nephew. This never happened but he did live in one sparsely furnished room for a short time. Lick moved into a small house on the property when the two young men showed a preference for living in other quarters. In 1873, Lick gave the mill, mansion and property to the Thomas Paine Society in Boston. The property subsequently passed through other hands. The only time it was occupied by a family was in the 1920's or 30's when a chemical company executive resided there.
Lick died in his hotel in 1876 leaving the balance of his considerable fortune to benefit charitable and scientific organizations. Lick's most famous bequest was the $700,000 to establish Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton where he is buried.
The James Lick Mansion is located in a beautiful park like setting within a colonial style condominium development at 554 Mansion Park Drive, Santa Clara. The Mansion is privately owned and rented to a private public service organization who maintain offices in the building.

Lick Mansion-Photo

Left Side View

Click here to tour next Historic Building: 14. Meynard House-San Jose

Click here to return to Home Page