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Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park facts for kids

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Bidwell Mansion State Historical Park
Bidwell Mansion, Chico, September 2019.jpg
Bidwell Mansion in 2019
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is located in California
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Location in California
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is located in the United States
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park
Location in the United States
Location 525 Esplanade, Chico, California
Built 1865
Architect Henry W. Cleaveland
Architectural style Italianate, Italian Villa, Octagon house
NRHP reference No. 72000216
Added to NRHP 1972

Bidwell Mansion, located at 525 Esplanade in Chico, California, was the home of General John Bidwell and Annie Bidwell from late 1868 until 1900, when Gen. Bidwell died. Annie continued to live there until her death in 1918. John Bidwell began construction of the mansion on his 26,000 acres (110 km²) Rancho del Arroyo Chico in 1865, during his courtship of Annie Ellicott Kennedy. After their marriage in 1868, the three-story, 26-room Victorian house became the social and cultural center of the upper Sacramento Valley. Now a museum and State Historic Park, it is California Historical Landmark #329 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion was a $60,000 project, and was finished in May 1868.

When constructed, Bidwell Mansion featured modern plumbing, gas lighting and water systems. The three-story brick structure is built in an informally romantic version of the Italianate style. It also has aspects of the Italian Villa and Octagon house types present. The building's exterior is finished with a pink tinted plaster.

The first floor of the Bidwell Mansion is accessible via a ramp from the exterior of the Mansion. The interior of the entire mansion can be seen during an hour-long tour that starts on the hour most days of the week. A video is available in the visitor center for those who can not climb the 50 stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the mansion.

The Bidwell Mansion Visitor Center is completely accessible. There is a gift shop, museum, theater, and comfortable lobby. There are also restrooms and water.


  • Some of the interior scenes from The Thin Man were shot inside the mansion.
  • From 1925-1935, Bidwell Mansion was once again transformed into another entity when it served as a dormitory for Chico State Teachers College students. It is mentioned by local historians that the students studied and dressed in the rooms, but actually slept outside on the surrounding verandas. The mansion was later dubbed "Bidwell Hall" and housed the Art and Home Economics departments.
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