De Anza College’s California History Center is housed in what may be the oldest and lowest tech building on campus…Le Petit Trianon.
Named for its purposeful similarity to Le Petit Trianon at Versailles, this 1895 mansion was built for Charles and Ellen Baldwin, (obviously) successful wine producers in the valley. One look at the white, arched neoclassical façade and you can imagine Ellen persuading her husband of the need to build an elegant and exotic backdrop for their parties, rather as Madame de Pompadour had done with Louise XVI to “relieve the king’s boredom” in the 1760s.
Fourteen years after the Baldwin’s mansion was finished, it was sold to Harriet Pullman Carolon. If that name sounds familiar, she was the daughter of the George Pullman, inventor of the Pullman sleeping car. Like the Baldwins, she also used Le Petit Trianon for her parties. From her, the mansion was sold to E. F. Euphrat, owner of the Pacific Can Company. Since 1965, the building has been on the grounds of De Anza College, where you can still find remnants of the original garden, the winery (now the campus bookstore), and the guest cottages.
This gorgeous building was scheduled by the college district board to be demolished in 1968. Fortunately their plan was reversed by local protesters, and four years later Le Petit Trianon was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
These days, the mansion is filled with a different sort of history. It now houses the California History Center, with its library, artifacts, and exhibits relating to all things California.
If you go
Le Petite Trianon
California History Center
De Anza College
Open Tuesday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m. and Friday by appointment. The center is closed during July and August.
Free and open to the public. To use the library, there is no cost for De Anza students and California History Center members. For all others, $5.00 per day.|