Stop 17: Joel Parker Whitney’s Oaks Mansion
Rocklin, Calif.- This plaque marks the location of Joel Parker Whitney’s, now demolished, three story, 20 room Oaks mansion. The plaque is in front of a private residence at the end of Knoll Court in the Mansion Oaks neighborhood of Rocklin.
Western Rocklin is astride the southern 12,000 acres of Whitney’s Spring Valley Ranch of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The mansion was the centerpiece of a 40 acre plot in the middle of the ranch that Whitney set aside as a baronial estate for his wife and their 3 small children in the mid 1880s. He started work on the mansion in 1884 at approximately the same time as he started his twelve granite bridges on the road that wound through the ranch from downtown Rocklin.
The mansion was constructed entirely of redwood except for the floors. There was a fireplace faced with expensive tile in every bedroom, and every room on the first floor except the kitchen and pantries.
The mansion looked southeast with a view of the far off State Capitol and the ranch’s headquarters near today’s Granite Oaks Middle School. The four acre grounds included stables, a carriage house, servants’ quarters, tennis courts, and dog runs for Whitney’s greyhounds. Later Whitney’s son Vincent built a golf course on the plain and slopes below.
The mansion fell into disuse after the death of Whitney’s youngest child, Helen Beryl Whitney Blaine in 1935, and the property reverted to animal pasture as Whitney’s family gradually sold off the ranch in the 1940s.
The Horseshoe Cattle Company demolished the mansion in the early 1950s to save property taxes.