Filoli mansion is a window into 20th century California [VIDEO]

Woodside California's Filoli mansion draws crowds looking to go back in time. The estate was built in the early 20th century and has found new popularity, as period dramas like PBS's "Downton Abbey" attract audiences.

For Pat Shahmiri visiting the Filoli mansion in Woodside, Calif. is “a great treat” and a window to the California of the early 20th century, when the Golden State became an economic powerhouse. It was then when prominent San Franciscans William Bowers Bourn and his wife Agnes, owners of the Empire gold mine, built Filoli.

The Bourns lived at the country house, set in 16 acres of eclectic English gardens and surrounded by 654 acres estate, until 1936 when they both died. William and Lurline Roth, an equally wealthy couple who owned the shipping company Matson Navigation, bought Filoli in 1937. They stayed until 1975 when Lurline Roth donated the property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Shahmiri, a Bay Area resident who recently became a member of Filoli, said that visiting the house “it is sort like going back to a period that is not so common in San Francisco; at least not open to us.”

“We have been following “Downton Abbey” on television and coming here we sort of have an idea of what must be like to have a house with servants. It is just lovely,” she said.

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  1. A big bouquet of thanks to Teresa Bouza for this excellent piece about Filoli history and why people enjoy visiting Filoli’s famous House and Gardens and also enjoy attending Filoli’s special events.

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