Back in 1893…
When the Hart Mansion was built in 1893, the U.S. flag had only 44 stars, horse-drawn trolleys plied the main street outside our window, the town of Pacific Grove had been established only four years earlier, and Dr. Andrew Jackson Hart built this three-story house as both his private residence and professional office. To this day, Dr. Hart’s name still appears in stained glass over the front door.
The “Hart Mansion,” as it was often called, remained in the Hart family for three generations, all of them medical doctors. Dr. Hart was a specialist in “ailments of women and children,” seeing patients in the ground floor rooms, while the family lived upstairs on the 2nd the 3rd floors. Descendants of the Hart family live in the area still, and we’ve been visited by Dr. A.J. Hart’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter.
In the 1970s the house was sold to the Bergerac family, who were living in Beverly Hills after moving from their native France. They were the first to operate a restaurant (Maison Bergerac) in the house, followed by the Leitzinger family (Gernot’s Victoria House), and chef Robert Kinkaid (Robert’s White House on Lighthouse). The current owners/residents/proprietors moved in on April Fool’s Day 2010.
Built of solid redwood that was probably cut from local groves and milled in the front yard, the house is remarkably original and well-preserved. The original stained-glass windows, hand-plastered walls, secret dumbwaiter shaft, hardwood floors, and other unique items are still intact. Renovated in the 1930s with new-fangled electric lighting, updated plumbing, and a new garage (likely after the family purchased their first automobile), much of original gaslight piping and knob-and-tube electrical wiring still remain. (Thankfully, the plumbing and electrical systems were modernized again in 2012.) Today, the house stands nearly as it was when Dr. Hart and his family first moved in more than 120 years ago. The world around it may have changed, but the Hart Mansion remains unaltered by the years.