Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park is a state and federally protected area in Sacramento, California. It features the Leland Stanford House, a mansion once owned by Leland Stanford, Governor of California from 1862 to 1863, U.S. Senator from 1885 to 1893, railroad tycoon, member of the Big Four and founder of Stanford University. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Between 1871 to 1872, the Stanford family embarked on an ambitious remodel of the residence. The home was raised twelve feet in response to frequent flooding from the Sacramento River, as Stanford had attended his gubernatorial inauguration by rowboat in 1862. In addition, one-story was added to the bottom and top of the mansion each. The home was also expanded from 4,000 square feet to 19,000, and redesigned to reflect the French Second Empire architecture popular of the period, particularly in the 4th floor Mansard roof that caps the home. The result was a four-story remodeled architectural sandwich in which the original 2-story house sat between the added floors.
Following Stanford's death in 1893, his widow Jane Stanford continued to oversee the home. In 1900, Stanford donated the home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento to be used for the children of California. It was given to the Sisters of Mercy who ran it as an orphanage named the Stanford and Lathrop Memorial Home for Friendless Children.
In the 1932, the home was handed over the Sisters of Social Service who eventually transformed the mansion from an orphanage to a residence for dependent high school girls. A fire in the mansion in 1940 brought considerable damage to the fourth floor. During the same decade, the mansion was designated a State Historical Landmark in 1957.
In 1978, the government of California acquired the property for use as a state park. The Sisters of Social Services would remain on the grounds until 1987, when California State Parks designated the mansion and the immediate surrounding land as a state historic park. Following the state's decision, the National Park Service designated the mansion as a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987. It was not until September of 2005 that the mansion would finally be open to public tours, after 20 million dollars worth of renovation and rehabilitation.
The park on the corner of 8th Street and N Street in downtown Sacramento, California, just two blocks away from the Capitol building. Prior to the reopening of the Stanford Mansion, California did not have a location for the hosting of official functions for nearly 40 years. Today the mansion is frequently used by the government of California to host foreign dignitaries. The Governor of California also retains an office in the mansion. Tours of the mansion are offered daily, but can be impacted by official functions on behalf of the Governor's Office or the California State Legislature leadership.