The McHenry Mansion – Modesto’s Greatest Treasure

The McHenry Family has roots deep in the City of Modesto. Today, thousands of visitors each year can celebrate the McHenry Family contributions as well as the rich history of Modesto by visiting both the McHenry Mansion and the McHenry Museum. Only blocks away from each other, it’s a great afternoon outing to visit both.

The McHenry Mansion, Modesto’s only original Victorian home, is truly one of Modesto’s greatest treasures. It has a long history beginning in 1883 to present day where free tours are still available, the home is used for teas, weddings, receptions, etc as well as local events to bring the public together in celebration

In a time when the Gold Rush was just beginning and many were flocking to the West, Robert McHenry settled in California and was involved in many business enterprises. He was prosperous with his endeavors and in 1880 bought five lots on 15th and I St, the site of his future home.

McHenry used local resources, bricks from local kilns, to construct the foundation. It was built in the High Victorian Italianate architectural style that was popular in the day.

McHenry lived there with his wife until their deaths, when it was handed down through the generations until it became Elmwood Sanitarium in 1919, then eventually apartments.

In 1976, the McHenry Mansion came on the market and was purchased by Aileen and Julio Gallo (yes, one of the founders of E & J Gallo Winery) to preserve the great historic gem that it had become.

Today, a typical day at the McHenry Mansion may consist of school tours in the morning, docent-led tours for visitors in the afternoon, and the occasional private party in the evening. It’s a great place to learn about our local history while ensuring our heritage will continue.

All tours of the Mansion begin at the Visitors Center, which the McHenry Mansion foundation purchased to use as a visitor’s center and gift shop. This is great for a day date with your loved one, or to bring the kids to learn about their local history. There’s a short DVD presentation giving the history of the house and the family, as well as the escorted tour of the home. It’s a great family-friendly outing to learn more about our local history.

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Ready for some outdoor fun? Let’s get back to nature with the Dry Creek Trail.