The Carson Mansion is a large Victorian house located in Old Town, Eureka, California. Regarded as one of the highest executions of American Queen Anne Style architecture, the house is "considered the most grand Victorian home in America."
It is one of the most written about and photographed Victorian houses in California and perhaps also in the United States. Originally the home of William Carson, one of Northern California's first major lumber barons, it has been a private club since 1950.The house and grounds are not open to the public.
William Carson (July 15, 1825 New Brunswick – February 20, 1912 Eureka), for whom the house was built, arrived in San Francisco from New Brunswick, Canada, with a group of other woodsmen in 1849.
After rolling out gold slugs in San Francisco, they joined in the northern gold rush, arriving in the Trinity Mountains via the Eel River and Humboldt Bay. They left the Trinity Mountains to overwinter at Humboldt Bay and contracted to provide logs for a small sawmill.
The house is a mix of every major style of Victorian architecture, including but not limited to: Eastlake, Italianate, Queen Anne (primary), and Stick. One nationally known architectural historian described the house as "a baronial castle in Redwood..." and stated further that the illusion of grandeur in the house is heightened by the play on scale, the use of fanciful detail and the handling of mass as separate volumes, topped by a lively roofscape.
The style of the house has been described as "eclectic" and "peculiarly American." Unlike most other houses dating from the period, this property always has been maintained, and is in nearly the same condition as when it was built.
In May 1964, the house was included in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) as catalog number CA-1911.This is the only official historical building listing of the house. Although the historic house does merit National Register of Historic Places status, the private club has chosen not to apply for it.
Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom of San Francisco (and later Los Angeles), were nineteenth century builder-architects contracted by Carson to create the house by 1883.
The Newsoms produced many styles and types of buildings from homes to churches to public buildings including: the Oakland City Hall, the Alameda County Courthouse, and the Napa County Courthouse.
Of their many commissions in California, a few original buildings remain in addition to the Carson house, including the Napa Valley Opera House and the San Dimas Hotel.
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