Last updated: 3/21/2012
Auburn, Washington
Street Address
12303 SE Auburn-Black Diamond Rd
Auburn, WA 98092
Mailing Address
12303 SE Auburn-Black Diamond Rd
Auburn, WA 98071
phone: 253-833-9404
web: www.neelymansion.org
Hours
Summer: Sat 1-4. By appointment remainder of year.
Admissions
$1 donation per adult.
Staff
Linda Van Nest, Vice-President
Pat Hallowell, Acting President
Description

Neely Mansion is a unique, Victorian farmhouse on the National Register for Historic Places. Built in 1894, it is a fine example of Victorian Classic Revival architecture. Both the pioneer Neely Family and ethnic tenant farmers are featured in our collect

Construction Features:

The two story mansion was built of balloon frame construction, using long boards which vertically span both stories. The second floor is “hung” midway from these boards. The mansion has approximately 2.600 square feet of useable space on the two floors. All the original walls were lath and plaster. The roof is cedar shake with two brick chimneys. A large attic with fir flooring lies under the hipped roof.

Exterior Features:

Built in Victorian classic revival style, the mansion features a variety of “gingerbread trim” including swags, brackets and teardrop pieces. The porches and balcony are decorated with turned posts and curving corner brackets. A solitary round window is surrounded by diamond shaped shingles above the front balcony. Gracefully carved ridge boards once decorated the mansion’s roof peaks.

General Restoration Features:

While the exterior of the mansion was generally intact, the interior of the house was nearly gutted throughout. All original pieces were saved and restored, including wainscoting, wood trim and ceiling medallions. Where needed, wood trim pieces were replicated to match the originals. New fir floors replaced plywood on the first floor. New walls of sheetrock replaced missing and broken plaster. An interior designer assisted in coordinating the house interiors in appropriate 1890’s period colors and wall finishes. All new mechanical systems, such as heating, plumbing and electrical, have been installed in the mansion.

History

by Karen Meador

Seven-year old Aaron Neely crossed the Oregon Trail with his parents in 1853 and settled in what is now Kent. The Neelys were among the earliest settlers in the area and played a major role in its development. By the early 1890s, Aaron was a prominent landowner in the process of designing and constructing the two-story Victorian Classic Revival farmhouse now known as Neely Mansion, completing the project in 1894. The Neely farm consisted of 200 surrounding acres on which he operated a dairy and planted an orchard, portions of which remain today.

The Neelys lived in the Mansion only a few years, finding it somewhat isolated, and moved back to Auburn (gasoline buggies were rare novelties at the time). Swiss, Japanese and Filipino tenant farmers occupied the property over the next several decades; one of the families built a Japanese-style bathhouse in the 1930s. By the 1970s the house had deteriorated to the point where concerned local citizens moved to save and restore the property, forming the Neely Mansion Association and organizing haunted house tours staffed by the Auburn High School Drama Department. These tours provided the seed money with which restoration began. Although still ongoing, the house has been largely restored to its former glory and is one of the few remaining examples of the many Victorian-style farmhouses that were once commonplace throughout the region.

The Neely Mansion is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the Washington State Register and is a designated King County landmark. The Neely Mansion Association is a volunteer, non-profit organization; membership fees and donations are tax-deductible. Operating expenses include insurance, alarm system monitoring (two break-ins have occurred recently), propane for heating and occasional maintenance. Arrangements can be made for tours to schools and civic groups, weddings, and other events. Citizen involvement is welcomed to keep the property in a restored and operational condition. It is located at 12303 Auburn-Black Diamond Road, just east of the Highway 18 Auburn-Black Diamond Road exit. For further information, call (253) 833-9404. Neely Mansion Association, PO Box 738, Auburn, WA 98071-0738.

Governance

The Neely Mansion Association, a nonprofit, volunteer historical society, now owns the mansion. Restoration is still taking place, as feature by feature, the mansion is brought back to its former glory.

Services

We shot a short film about Jesse James at the mansion called The Shootout. Tonya M. Yorke, Independent Filmmaker

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