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Filoli Center

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86 Canada Road Woodside, CA 94062
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Phone: 650-364-8300
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Filoli Center
Filoli Center in Woodside
Filoli is a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by 654 acres estate, located in Woodside, California, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn. The principal designer, San Francisco architect Willis Polk, used a free Georgian style that incorporated the tiled roofs characteristic of California. Polk had previously designed Bourn's houses in Grass Valley and on Webster Street in San Francisco. Bruce Porter was commissioned to collaborate with the Bourns in planning the gardens, which were laid out 1917-1922.

Filoli served as one of the Bourns' residences from 1917 to 1936. Mr. Bourn was president of the Spring Valley Water Company, which owned Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding area. The name of the estate is an acronym formed by combining the first two letters from the key words of William Bourn's credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."

Following the deaths of William and Agnes Bourn in 1936, the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, owners of the Matson Navigation Company, in 1937. The Roth family built Filoli's botanic gardens. In 1975, Mrs. Roth donated the estate in its entirety to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 16 acres of gardens are structured as a series of garden spaces that open one from another, providing long axial views, in which profuse naturalized plantings of hardy and annual plants contrast with lawns, paving, formal reflecting pools, framed in walls and clipped hedging and punctuated by many narrowly columnar Irish yews, originally grown on the estate from cuttings. Filoli is an outstanding example of the Anglo-American gardening style that was pioneered at the end of the nineteenth century by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in British gardens and exemplified in the U.S. by designs of Charles A. Platt and Beatrix Farrand.

Today, Filoli is open for public tours. Attractions include self-guided tours, guided tours, and nature hikes. The formal gardens include several areas, including the Wedding Place, especially designed for Berenice Roth's wedding. Lurline and Berenice both had their wedding receptions at Filoli, but Berenice's wedding is the only one that has ever taken place at Filoli. The largest gardens are working gardens for the production of cut flowers for the mansion and for the growing of some vegetables. The gardens are largely maintained by local volunteers, one of whom may be seen in the image above carefully trimming the boundary hedge.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood movies. Most famously, it is the mansion seen from the air in the opening credits of the television series Dynasty. The mansion's plush interiors were also featured in the first episodes of the series but were subsequently replicated on sound stages at the Fox Studios, Century City. However the entire mansion served as the setting for the 2006 CBS Television special Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar in which cast members reunited to discuss their memories of the series. It was the first time many of the cast members had been to the actual estate.

Hours
Tuesday - Saturday:
10:00 am–3:30 pm
(last admission 2:30 pm)
Sunday:
11:00 am–3:30 pm
(last admission 2:30 pm)

Filoli is closed on Mondays and in observance of all Federal holidays.

Admission
Free to current Filoli Members
Non-Members:
Adults $15
Seniors $12 (65 years and older)
Students $5 Children 4 years and younger: No charge. Higher fees apply on special event days
86 Canada Road Woodside, CA 94062
Phone: 650-364-8300
Get Directions

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