Who doesn’t love Downton Abbey? Though it’s almost time to say goodbye to the Crawley’s and their staff, we can re-watch our favorite episodes whenever we want on DVD. I was fortunate to visit Highclere Castle, which serves as the fictional Downton Abbey, on a trip to England in 2013. It was an amazing experience. I’ve toured many of the great estates that are scattered throughout Britain but having been a Downton follower touring Highclere was more special in many ways.
The large number of great country homes preserved in Britain by The British National Trust and British Heritage Society made me think about the vast number of properties in America that have been lost. Fortunately, our own National Trust has saved several, as have preservation societies around the country like the Preservation Society of Newport County in Rhode Island.
Most of the grand American country houses were built on the East coast or in the Midwest, but California has a few. A really great source for finding historic properties is the Victorian Preservation Society of Santa Clara Valley website. There you can find historic properties listed by city across all of California. Not only have they compiled California properties, but they list properties by city in all of the individual states in the union! It’s a veritable feast for those hungering for historic properties to explore. Check it out and plan a local drive tour or plot a great American excursion to other cities and states. This site is an incredible gift to architectural aficionados, worldwide, eager to discover America’s historic architecture.
Click the link and find the state you wish to explore from the list at the bottom. Happy touring!
Historic House Museums _ Victorian Preservation Association