Historic Structures

Filoli - Bourn-Roth Estate, Woodside California

Date added: November 23, 2018 Categories: California House Mansion

William Bowers Bourn II, the original owner of Filoli, was born in San Francisco in 1857. Following his father's death in 1874, he developed the family's Empire Mine at Grass Valley. Bourn married and had two children, a son who died in infancy and a daughter, Maud, who died in 1929, leaving two children from her marriage.

Bourn became president of the San Francisco Gas Company and the Spring Valley Water Company. The large Greystone Winery near St. Helena in Napa County was also built for him. Mr. Bourn later bought the fabled Lakes of Killarney, a 16,000-acre Muchross estate in Ireland for his daughter and son-in-law. In 1932 this was donated to the Irish Free State. William Bourn was confined to his estate after being stricken with paralysis in 1922. Bourn was a philosopher who extolled the virtues of "constructive conservatism" and the works of Goethe and Browning. Under titles like "Thoughts on Character," Bourn wrote articles for his company's periodicals.

In 1938, the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth who are associated with the Matson Navigation Company and its famous "White Ships." Mr. Roth died in 1963, and the estate was maintained by Mrs. Roth. In 1975 she gave the house and gardens to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.