Filoli Mansion highlights spouse tour

May 1, 2002
NATIONAL Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) spouses are in for a treat when they visit San Francisco, California, during the annual meeting. Highlight of the

NATIONAL Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) spouses are in for a treat when they visit San Francisco, California, during the annual meeting. Highlight of the trip will be a tour and lunch at the Filoli Mansion, a 43-room mansion built in the early 1900s.

The mansion and 16 acres of surrounding gardens have been featured in the television series “Dynasty” and in movies such as “Joy Luck Club” and “The Wedding Planner.”

According to information from the Filoli Web site, the mansion is located 30 miles south of San Francisco on the eastern slope of the Coast Range. The house was occupied from 1917 to 1936 as a private residence for its original owners, William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn.

In 1937 the property was sold to Mr and Mrs William P Roth, who continued to maintain and enrich the estate. Mrs Roth donated Filoli to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975.

Filoli was built for the Bourns, prominent San Franciscans whose chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine in Grass Valley, California. Bourn was also owner and president of the Spring Valley Water Company, comprising Crystal Springs Lake and surrounding lands that are now part of the San Francisco Water Department.

Bourn selected the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake as the site for his estate. He 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; and Live a good life.

Bourn chose his longtime friend, the prominent San Francisco architect Willis Polk, as the 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 the design of a single building, an eclecticism clearly evident in Filoli's design.

Construction of Filoli began in 1915 and the Bourns moved into the house in 1917. Bruce Porter was enlisted to help the Bourns plan the layout of the extensive formal garden, which was built between 1917 and 1921. Both Mr and Mrs Bourn died in 1936. The estate was then purchased by the Roths, who owned the Matson Navigation Company. Under the Roths' supervision, the property was maintained and the formal garden gained worldwide recognition. Mrs Roth made this her home until 1975 when she donated 125 acres, which included the house and formal garden, to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the enjoyment and inspiration of future generations. The remaining acreage was given to Filoli Center.

Now operated by Filoli Center, the estate represents an excellent example of architecture and garden design from the first part of the twentieth century. The house contains some of the Bourns' and Roths' original furnishings, the Martin collection, and other pieces. During the blooming season, exquisite specimens of Mrs Roth's collection of orchids are displayed in the rooms. The beautiful flower arrangements throughout the house are created with flowers from the Lurline B Roth Garden by the Friends of Filoli Flower Arranging Committee.

After the visit to the mansion, NTTC spouses can also enjoy the historic St Francis Hotel built in 1904, host to the NTTC meeting. For almost 100 years, the hotel has welcomed visitors from around the world, including President Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II. Known for its ornate lobby and adjacent Compass Rose Lounge, the hotel overlooks Union Square and the city's premiere shopping area.

If afternoon tea appeals to spouses, they can visit the Compass Rose Lounge, which also features caviar cart service and is famous for its frozen vodka martini.

Spouses can register and pick up conference materials in the Grand Ballroom exhibit area on the mezzanine level, beginning at 3 pm Sunday. Refreshments will be served in the exhibit hall. There will be no separate spouse reception. Spouses are welcome to attend business and social sessions, and are encouraged to visit the exhibits. On Sunday, the exhibit hall will close at 6 pm, leaving the evening free to enjoy the city.

Tuesday's events will conclude with a reception at 6:30 pm and dinner dance at 7:30 pm. The Black Market Jazz Orchestra will provide music. While no events are planned Wednesday, getaway coffee and pastries will be provided, beginning at 7:30 am in the Colonial Room.