The Italianate style mansion was designed for General John Bidwell (1819-1900) Chico, California by San Francisco Architect
Henry William Cleaveland, April 1865. Bidwell occupied it with his bride, Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell (1839-1918) in 1868.
The construction cost was between $56,000 and $60, 000. The mansion contains 26 rooms on three levels, pink stucco with chocolate
brown trim. It had modern features of gas lights, air cooling system, running water and flush toilets. The home was the
center of social life in the area, as the Bidwell entertained guests including President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes, General
William T. Sherman, John Muir, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Governor Stanford and Asa Gray. Upon her death, Mrs. Bidwell
willed the home to the Presbyterian Church to be used as a school. The church not capable of starting a school sold the Mansion
to the State of California as part of the Chico Normal School. It was used for various purposes, first as a women’s dormitory,
then offices and art instruction. In 1964, the Mansion was turned over to the Division of Beaches and Parks to be restored
as a house museum.