“a country estate that celebrates land”
Located 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century. Whether enjoying its beauty or pursuing its educational opportunities, we invite you to explore this cherished community resource. Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine in Grass Valley, California. Mr. Bourn was also owner and president of the Spring Valley Water Company whose property comprised Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding lands, areas that are now part of the San Francisco Water Department. He selected the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake as the site for his estate. Mr. Bourn arrived at the unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”Mr. Bourn chose longtime friend and prominent San Francisco architect Willis Polk as principal designer for the House. Polk had previously designed the Bourns' cottage in Grass Valley as well as their home on Webster Street in San Francisco. An inventive architect, Polk frequently combined several styles in a single building, an eclecticism clearly evident in his design for Filoli. A prime example of the California eclectic style, Filoli provides an inspiring vision of a new Eden, with bountiful land, plentiful resources and an emphasis on self-sufficiency. Built more than sixty years after the California Gold Rush that inspired massive migration to Northern California, and ten years after the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, Filoli represented a desire to create a magnificent and enduring country estate.Now operated by Filoli Center, the 654-acre estate is a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. This outstanding showcase of early twentieth-century architecture and garden design can be enjoyed by the public during much of the year.
Spectacular gardens! Spring is my favorite time to visit, but the gardens are lovely all year. There are docent-led tours, or your can simply wander the grounds on your own. Catch the free film in the visitor's center to learn the history of the estate, and the meaning behind the name "Filoli".
Call ahead, and they will tell you what's currently in bloom!
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- Tue - Sat: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
- Sun: 11:00 am - 3:30 pm
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