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A rarefied and exquisite West Coast
example of the Gilded Age in America
|Architectural style||American Style Queen Anne (Victorian)|
|Town or city||
143 M StreetEureka, California
|Structural system||concrete foundation; Douglas Fir frame; Redwood exterior|
|Size||In excess of 16,200 sq ft (1,510 m2). on 3 floors (excluding basement) plus 103 feet (31 m) tower; 18 rooms|
|Design and construction|
William Carson (Co-founder and Co-owner ofDolbeer & Carson Lumber Company)
Samuel Newsom andJoseph Cather Newsom
|Engineer||W.H. Mills (construction supervisor)|
The Carson Mansion is a large Victorian house located in Old Town, Eureka, California. Regarded as one of the highest executions of American Queen Anne Style architecture, the home is "considered the most grand Victorian home in America." It is one of the most written about and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps, in the United States. Originally the home of one of Northern California's first major lumber barons, it has housed the Ingomar Club, a private members-only club, since 1950. Although the front and south-side elevations may be viewed easily from the public street and sidewalk, the home and grounds are never open to the general public.
William Carson 
William Carson (July 15, 1825 – February 20, 1912), for whom the mansion was built, arrived in San Francisco from New Brunswick, Canada in 1849. His first attempts at financial security in the minor gold rush in the Trinity Mountains region failed. During one of the winters between forays into mining, Carson hauled logs from the Freshwater slough to the Pioneer Mill on the shores of Humboldt Bay. He claimed to be the first to fell a tree for commercial purposes on Humboldt Bay. By 1853 he was selling shiploads of Redwood lumber, bound for San Francisco. In 1863 Carson formed the Dolbeer and Carson Lumber Company, in partnership with John Dolbeer, who would invent the Steam Donkey Engine in 1881 and revolutionize logging technology, especially in hard to reach areas. In 1884, on the eve of construction of the great home, the successful operation was producing 15,000,000 board feet (35,000 m3) of lumber annually. The milling operations combined with additional investments as far away as Southern California and at least partial ownerships in schooners used to move the lumber to booming markets on the west coast and all over the globe, set the stage for the unlimited budget and access to resources the builders would have. Milling operations at the original Humboldt Bay site (located bay side and below the mansion) continued into the 1970s, but under different ownership for over twenty years after being purchased by the Pacific Lumber Company following the Carson family divestiture of remaining family holdings (including the home) who subsequently left the area, taking their wealth with them in 1950.
Architectural style 
The mansion is a mix of every major style of Victorian Architecture, including but not limited to the following styles: Eastlake, Italianate, Queen Anne (primary), and Stick, depending on which expert one consults. One nationally known architectural historian described the home as "a baronial castle in Redwood..." and stated further that "The illusion of grandeur in the house is heightened by the play on scale, the use of fanciful detail and the handling of mass as separate volumes, topped by a lively roofscape." A nationally recognized architectural survey stated, "The home epitomizes the range of possibilities for eclectic design expression" in the use of Victorian architectural styles in a manner that is "peculiarily American." Unlike most other homes dating from the period, this property has always been maintained meticulously, therefore standing today in virtually the same condition as when it was built.
The Carson Mansion is included in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) as Catalog number CA-1911. Completed in May 1964, this is the only official historical building listing of this State of California and nationally architecturally significant structure. Though it merits National Register of Historic Places status, the Ingomar Club does not open the home and grounds to the public, nor has it applied for National Register Status.
Newsom Brothers, builder-architects 
Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom of San Francisco (and later Los Angeles), premier 19th century builder-architects (as they were called during the period), were placed under contract by Carson to create the house by 1883. They produced many styles and types of buildings from homes to churches to public buildings in their careers spanning many decades. Among their many accomplishments were the Oakland City Hall (1869) and the Alameda County Courthouse (1875). The Napa Valley Opera House (1879), which was completely restored and reopened by 2003, and a restored 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) hotel in San Dimas, California are excellent remaining examples of their detail work as 19th century builder-architects. In Eureka, a nearby reconstruction of a Newsom & Newsom home that was lost in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco exists in the Carter House Inn.
Popular culture 
The design of the house is prevalent in website design, video animations, posters, paintings, book covers and includes renditions in amusement parks, including the clock tower on the train station at Disneyland. The home also serves as a model for haunted house art work and design.
- North Coast Journal: Carson Mansion, the inside story
- Carson Mansion & Ingomar Theatre, p. 33
- Library of Congress. "Carson House, Eureka, Humboldt, CA". Historic American Building Surveys, Engineering Records, Landscape Surveys Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Carson Mansion & Ingomar Theatre
- American Architecture: Innovation and Tradition, p. 266
- Eureka: An Architectural View, p. 65
- Carson Mansion & Ingomar Theatre, p. 35
- Stenger, Richard. The Creepy Carson. North Coast Journal," October 28, 2010. Retrieved online October 31, 2010.
- A Castle in Fairyland, Evelyn Shuster Worthen, 1984.
- Carson House (CA-1911), Photograph-Data Book Report, Historical American Buildings Survey, Joseph Baird, Jr., 1964
- Carson Mansion & Ingomar Theatre: Cultural Adventures in California, Benjamin Sacks, 1979.
- The Carson Mansion: America's Finest Victorian Home, Scoop Beal, 1973.
Newsom and Newsom, Builder-Architects
- Artistic Buildings and Homes of Los Angeles, Joseph C. Newsom, Jeanne C. Bennett, R. L. Samsell (Introduction), 1981 (Reprint).
- Picturesque California Homes, No. 1, Samuel Newsom and J Cather Newsom, 1884–1885 (Reproduced in 1978 with introduction by David Gebhard).
- Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom: Victorian Architectural Imagery in California, 1878–1908, David Gebhard, 1979.
- Eureka: An Architectural View, Eureka Heritage Society, Ken Overholt, Editor, 1987, Second Edition 1994, 270 Pages, ISBN 0-9615004-0-9 .
National and State Architecture
- American Architecture: Innovation and Tradition, Columbia University (Edited by D.G. De Long, H. Searing, and R.A.M. Stearn), 1986.
- California Architecture: Historic American Buildings Survey, Sally Woodbridge, 1988.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Carson Mansion|
- Ingomar Club - official website of the private club that owns the Carson Mansion; includes history and extensive interior photos