This page is for discussing the contents of Miller Mansion and its relation to Five Oaks

2009-05-09 22:27:13   The first image which says Reed Mansion is in a completely different style than that third one that also says Reed Mansion (Greek Revival vs. Queen Anne Victorian(?)). What's up? I'm guessing the 1st one is really Miller Mansion? —RyanMikulovsky

  • I'd also noticed that the two pics didn't match architecturally, and had wondered about it. I can say that we Chico kids grew up calling the building in the first picture "Miller Mansion" and not "Reed Mansion." Honestly, outside of this wiki page, I've never heard of "Reed Mansion" so perhaps the third picture is a house by that name that used to be on that site, which preceded the current mansion and is no longer in existence? Can anyone in the know help clarify this, by chance? Even searching Google for "Reed Mansion" and Chico didn't yield me anything about it except this wiki page. —StaceyEllis

2009-05-14 12:30:08   While it is still fresh.. asked art instructor if she knew anything about Miller and Reed Mansions — she knew nothing of the Reed Mansion. But she mentioned that she believes that Miller family owned grocery stores which were later.. maybe.. taken over.. something about Wint's or Went's. Anyhow I think the best bet is contacting John Gallardo of the Chico Heritage Association. —RyanMikulovsky

  • Yes, the Miller family are definitely the same people who owned the old Miller's Market. I can't say for sure about the Wint's or Went's part of it, but I would bet I have a relative or inlaw of a relative would know more about that. I'll ask around. —StaceyEllis
  • Following up: My mom, a lifelong Chicoan, has never heard of Reed Mansion. She confirms that Miller Mansion was owned by the same family who owned Miller's Market. She is drawing a blank on the location of the former markets (she kept coming up with Holiday Market locations for some reason), but will ask around about that, since she knows she had been there back in the day. She thinks the name Ryan was looking for was Wentz Market although she is not 100% sure on the spelling. I'll keep quizzing the family when the chance presents itself so we can get to the bottom of it. —StaceyEllis
    • Good! Then we can probably make a note of Miller's Market in the main article. We are closer to being able to remove all references to Reed Mansion. The Unknown Mansion looks very similar to the one in the Birdseye view, so perhaps it can be simply Daniel Bidwell's Residence. Question is, then, what happened to his residence? Furthermore, it appears that Lindo Channel did exist originally as a stream but was widened ("improved") so that Birdseye view is probably accurate and can be used for this page. I hope someone with intimate knowledge will someday join the discussion. Thanks for the help!! —RyanMikulovsky

2009-05-17 20:07:31   Mystery nearly solved. I just stumbled on an article from the Chico ER a few years ago that seems to clear up most of what we have been trying to figure out (written by Laura Urseny 06-25-2005). It seems that the area was once known as "Five Oaks" and was owned by Daniel Bidwell. The house that sat on it was Victorian, so I really think it is likely the one in the picture. Somewhere along the line that house burned, and the property was bought by Roy Miller of the family behind Miller's Market. The house was damaged beyond repair by the fire, was torn down and replaced in the 1950s with the house that we all know today. So the original house shown in the pictures above has nothing to do with Miller Mansion beyond having once sat on the same plot of land. I will also note that nowhere in the article does the term "Reed Mansion" come up, although it is interestingly called "the old Bidwell Mansion." The article does say Five Oaks was also known as "Reed Ranch" so the name "Reed" is definitely in there somewhere.

Which brings me to the next question: What now? I personally feel that the house that stood on the property is not the same thing as the house that stands there now and should not be used interchangeably, and I also feel that the place is not actually called "Five Oaks" these days (the gates have a logo that is a combination of the letters C and R, which can also be found on Garden Villa shopping center and appears to stand for "Cotter Ranch" after the current owner of both properties). I think there should be a "Miller Mansion" page and a "Five Oaks" page so that we have information about both the current situation and the historical one. Both are really interesting and relevant, but I would tend to err on the side of not using names of things interchangeably when they are different things from different eras. Thoughts? —StaceyEllis

2009-05-17 20:30:53   Stacey, I think your idea is perfect. Keep Five Oak Ranch and Daniel Bidwell's mansion separate. Perhaps make a separate Cotter Ranch page that links to this mansion. Yes, a house is absolutely not the same as the property :-) The first paragraph of your last comment could probably be integrated into the primary article more or less as is. Make a small note that it was also called Reed Ranch but for no known reason. Hmm I think that's it. —RyanMikulovsky