Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The History of The Bayley House

(the top photo is the house today taken from the side).......
Let me first say....I LOVE this place....there is something mysterious and haunting that draws me to this place...every time I pass it ....I get a's like I can go back in time and actually see it in my mind so clear...all the work and love that went into the place....the grand parties that were held there.....the beautiful area.....I can see it all......even though there are those who say it is not haunted....I don't believe them...I believe it IS HAUNTED.......I know....because I HAVE BEEN THERE........Here is the History of the house....enjoy!
History of The Bayley House.....Pilot Hill, ElDorado County, California
Construction on the handsome Bayley House began in 1861,after A.J. Bayley's first hotel in Pilot Hill, the Oak Valley House, burned to the ground earlier that year. Prompted by this loss and rumors that the Central Pacific Railroad would soon be built through Pilot Hill, Bayley started construction on his biggest project.

He had every reason to believe that the railroad would be routed through the trail that John C. Fremont surveyed, which ran past his property, because it had already been established as a freight haulers route. He knew that the "Big Four" railroad barons were seriously considering this Fremont Trail as the route for the railroad to take on its journey over the Sierras to become part of the first trans-continental railroad.

Enter Theodore Judah, a brilliant engineer who found that routing the railroad through Auburn and Dutch Flat would be easier and less expensive. His idea was eventually accepted, leaving Bayley with a massive Southern style estate in the middle of the rolling foothills of ElDorado County, one that would not realize its potential as an important and busy oasis for rail passengers.
Nevertheless....the fact remained that A.J. Bayley had designed and built one of the finest homes in the West.
The 10,000 square foot Bayley House was built with 22 rooms, including two ladies' parlors, a bar room to the left of the entrance, and a grand ballroom on the third floor that doubled as an observatory. The 300,000 bricks that faced the exterior were manufactured on location, as well as the fine wood used in the house milled on the property. Rosewood and Mahogany were imported from England. A double piazza supported by eight huge columns provided a shady retreat off the second floor where guests could relax and enjoy the view. A spectacular circular staircase wound sharply from the double-door foyer to the second and third floors, with a highly polished mahogany railing. To help keep the house warm and inviting, it was outfitted with six fireplaces, two with marble insets, and underneath it all was a huge wine cellar, where one of California's first winemakers stored the product of his vineyards.
The parlors were lavishly appointed in Victorian grandeur. Velvet draperies, fine lace curtains, polished rosewood chairs, and settees covered in blue velvet graced the rooms, and one was furnished with a big piano. The second floor was a huge dining room...that was turned into a grand ballroom for entertaining the "Big Four" millionaires and other notables of the time. From the rooftops "widow's walk" one could see the panoramic views of the Sacramento Valley and surrounding hillsides and towns.
The 640 acres included fruit trees, vineyards, all kinds of stock and poultry, a large barn, and a lean-to where Bayley's Chinese cook lived. At one time Bayley and his sons operated a general store on the property.
(Taken from Lillian LaFaille's adventures and discoveries while living in the Bayley House in the early 1900's)............
Many interesting articles were found in the attic, including a large handmade flag. As we enrolled the fragile length, we counted 39 stars. Here, too, was a steamer trunk filled with yellow and tattered fashion magazines, featuring the elaborate hoop skirted gowns of the early 1860's, together with sketches of the latest fashions from England. We discovered a dog-eared cookbook with puzzling pinch recipes and a highly prized ornament consisting of a basket of wax flowers covered by a fragile glass dome.
Perhaps the most fascinating place of all was the lean-to next to the house that had been the living quarters of Bayley's Chinese cook, which still contained bottles of pungent Oriental remedies that were confiscated for safety. Various bulletins printed in Chinese, and a old pair of slippers looking like clogs were found in a corner.
The rooms contained elegant Victorian furniture....the carpets and wallpaper were perhaps gaudy with huge roses and gold gilt.....old fashioned roses still bloomed on the terraced gardens...along with picket fences...grassy slopes...and giant oak trees....
The Bayley House was eventually donated to ElDorado County, and in 1978 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, it was purchased by the Georgetown Divide Recreation District, which is currently seeking funding for its restoration. The Bayley House is today a well-known landmark to the many travelers on Hwy. 49 and a stately tribute to the man who built it.
(When Andy and I went over to the mountain bike races in Cool we stopped here at the Bayley House...and I took lots of photos.....I wanted to share some of the photos and the story which I found here on the internet about this historic site....) Please enjoy all the photos below of this wonderful place........


Anonymous skinny said...

Hey Vicci...I love the history and awe on the Bayley House. History is rich. BTW, it's kinda cheesy but I left you a little award ... a 'dances with nature award' on my sidebar. I don't venture out & about like I used to (time brings change...since the divorce I work 10.5 - 11 hr days, 5-6 days a week and have an hour commute :( but don't think for a new york second I sneak in every now and again & think about you much in between. xoxox...skinny

9:47 PM  

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