Marveling at the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, WA
With her husband, Ezra keeping himself busy as the mayor, a hops producer, and traversing the country in his pursuit of preserving the Oregon Trail, Eliza Meeker did what any sensible and self-sufficient woman in 1890 would have done: she built a mansion. The 17-room Italianate Meeker Mansion, which is in Eliza’s name and was built on her dime, suggests that house-lust is not a new phenomenon. After the Meekers’ deaths in the early 1900s, the house was converted into a hospital and then into a nursing home. Now owned by the Washington State Historical Society, it has been lovingly restored and outfitted with period furniture and decorations. The interior includes beautiful painted ceilings and the Meekers’ own grand piano; notice, too, such oddities as windows that span two floors and hair art, the Victorian craze of weaving intricate designs with human hair.