Engraving from 1885 showing Mableton
Photo of house in 1977; photo of Mark McDonald
Jane Wyman filming Pollyanna-1960
The house, located in Santa Rosa, CA, and commonly known as the "McDonald Mansion," was named "Mableton." (precise origin unknown) Mark McDonald, an engineer and entrepreneur originally from Kentucky, arrived in Santa Rosa in 1869; in time he became the owner of the local water company, a building developer, a designer of transport systems, prune grower and more. Primarily living in San Francisco, he wanted a summer home in Santa Rosa. Choosing for his design a version of a Mississippi house, (which may have been a copied house from India) he hired T. J. Ludwig to build the house; it was completed in the 1870's The house was "showy" but inexpensively built, with single wall construction for the top floors, chickens in the basement. The family owned the house until the death of the last McDonald (Marcia) in 1971. Through will, the house was donated to Stanford University and The University of California. I purchased the house in 1974.