Where was Pollyanna filmed?
Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, and Petaluma (USA)
House, Mansions, Nature, Schools, Church, Film Studio
Colonial, French, Victorian, Old Hollywood
The 1960 American comedy-drama film, Pollyanna, is a classic treasure directed by David Swift. Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman shine in their respective roles as child actresses alongside the incredible Karl Malden and Richard Egan. Mary Pickford's 1920 adaptation of Eleanor H. Porter’s beloved classic The Glad Girl gives audiences an entertaining version, though tended to water down the other characters depicted in the story.
In comparison, Disney’s 1960 remake of Pollyanna offers a more compelling rendition with three-dimensional and multi-faceted characterizations that draw viewers further into its captivating tale. The plot follows Pollyanna (Hayley Mills) as she moves to Harrington after being orphaned at a young age.
She quickly makes friends with the townsfolk, but her Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) is less than pleased with her optimistic outlook on life. Despite this, Pollyanna's cheerful attitude eventually wins over the hearts of everyone in town as she helps them see the best in life.
Pollyanna is an uplifting story about how one person can make a difference in their community through optimism and determination. It's a timeless classic that will continue to bring joy to viewers for years to come.
The film was released to critical acclaim, winning one Academy Award for Best Actress (Hayley Mills). Additionally, the movie earned a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female Mills) and was nominated for Best British Actress in 1961 at BAFTA (Mills).
The 1960 Disney classic Pollyanna is a heartwarming tale of a young orphan girl who, despite her difficult circumstances, radiates positivity and happiness that touches the lives of those she meets. For the production of this beloved classic, filmmakers chose to highlight several beautiful locations in California, including Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, and Petaluma.
Santa Rosa is where the bulk of filming took place, and the Mableton Mansion at 1015 McDonald Avenue primarily served as the main Pollyanna film set. The mansion is set in a picturesque location with rolling hills, lush vineyards, and soft ripples from nearby rivers offering an idyllic setting for Aunt Polly's house.
The production team frequently used Napa Valley during filming, with its gorgeous landscape providing the perfect backdrop for Pollyanna's journey through the countryside. Additionally, Petaluma offers quaint visual on-screen charm with its historic buildings, lush parks, and wide tree-lined streets.
A visit to the Pollyanna filming locations would be time well spent for any avid fan of the beloved flick. From admiring the beauty of Mableton Mansion in Santa Rosa all while basking in nostalgia - to visiting some of Napa Valley's iconic wineries and exploring Petaluma's historic sites - there are so many sights that can be seen by taking a trip down memory lane.
Mill scene in Pollyanna
Old Bale Mill, Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, USA
The opening scene of the Disney classic showcases the beautiful landscape of Napa Valley. We are introduced to Jimmy Bean (Kevin “Moochie” Corcoran). He is seen rolling his hoop with a stick along the countryside as he makes his way to the Harrington Railroad station. The stunning backdrop of the Napa countryside adds to the nostalgic atmosphere of the movie.
The large water wheel featured in this sequence was filmed at Bale Grist Mill, a state historical park three miles north of St. Helena in Napa Valley. The grist mill is one of California’s oldest surviving water-powered mills and was constructed in 1846 by Dr. Edward Turner Bale on the property from Rancho Carne Humana land grant.
Since then, it has been partially restored and is now protected as a historic landmark where visitors can explore its 36-foot water wheel and enjoy its serene setting among nature trails and picnic spots.
You will find the Bale Gist Mill at Highway 29, just three miles north of downtown Saint Helena in California’s wine country region. If you're in San Francisco, enjoy a private car ride on Highway 29 for around an hour to get there. Or if you’re coming from Santa Rosa via Calistoga Rd and CA-128 E, the journey will take only 30 minutes.
Railroad Station scene in Pollyanna
1510 Railroad Avenue, St. Helena, California, USA
The scene where Pollyanna arrives n the town of Harrington is a crucial moment in the film. It marks the beginning of her journey from a bleak life to discovering joy and finding true family and friendship. As soon as she steps off the train, she meets Nancy (Nancy Olson) and the gardener Thomas (Nolan Leary) who have been sent to pick her up. The welcoming experience sets the tone for her new life in Harrington.
The iconic train station in the movie was filmed at 1510 Railroad Avenue in St. Helena, California. It still stands today and is recognizable due to its unique architecture - a two-story building built of red brick with white painted trim. Tucked away in time, the charming town still looks much like it did almost sixty years ago when it hosted the Pollyanna production team.
Many of its original buildings remain standing, offering a view into history as one of California's oldest railroad stations since 1895. This picturesque area continues to honor its transportation past and stands proud as an iconic beacon for Americana culture.
St Helena is accessible by car via I-80 W and CA-29 N, which connects California’s major cities like Sacramento and San Francisco, or via St Helena Rd and Spring Mountain Rd, if you travel from Santa Rosa.
Aunt Polly’s house scene in Pollyanna
1015 McDonald Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Pollyanna's eyes gleamed with delight as she arrived at Aunt Polly's three-story mansion. When Nancy Furman (Nancy Olson), the housekeeper, sternly orders her to stay in the hall without touching anything while she informs Aunt Polly of her arrival, Pollyanna is awestruck! That moment is when the young girl met her strict and humorless aunt for the first time.
The filmmakers chose a 14,000-square-foot mansion, located at 1015 McDonald Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA, in the United States, to represent Aunt Polly’s house onscreen. They employed matte painting and special effects during post-production to fabricate a more comprehensive look for the home. To accurately portray the lavish interiors of this mansion, however, filming was done at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
To get to the movie location, take highway 101 North from San Francisco and take exit 459 for Steele Lane towards Santa Rosa. Turn left onto Steele Lane and then turn left onto McDonald Avenue. The destination will be on your right after about 1 mile. Additionally, you can also take public transportation via Golden Gate Transit buses or Sonoma County Transit from San Francisco or Oakland to Santa Rosa directly. Once you reach Santa Rosa city center, you could take local transit buses to reach McDonald Avenue, where you'll find the house that is featured in some of the famous scenes from Pollyanna.
Nancy with a stranger scene in Pollyanna
Walnut Park, 206-236 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952, USA
As the maid ushers Pollyanna (Hayley Mills) into her room, she is thrilled to have a place to call her own and an inviting bed. When looking out from the highest floor of Aunt Polly's mansion, however, what Pollyanna sees makes her gasp in astonishment - Nancy embracing a stranger at the neighboring park’s white gazebo.
Aunt Polly's expression reveals anger and disappointment as she gazes at them. To emphasize this scene's impact on both characters, it's filmed at Walnut Park with its idyllic setting, surrounded by trees and greenery, with a quaint gazebo as the centerpiece.
Walnut Park is located in downtown Petaluma, California, at the corner of Petaluma Boulevard South and D Street. From May to November, the Park hosts a seasonal Farmer's Market each Saturday! In December, it plays host to Hospice Sonoma County’s annual "Light Up a Life" event.
If driving to the Park, it is located right at the intersection of Petaluma Boulevard South and D Street. If taking public transport, buses frequently run on routes 10 & 11, which stop right outside Walnut Park, or you can take either routes 52 or 54 & alight at Sonoma Mountain Parkway & Petaluma Blvd S/D Street Intersection - just a few minute's walk from Walnut Park itself.
McEnerney’s Dept. Store scene in Pollyanna
Walt Disney Studios, 500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, California, USA
The scene of Aunt Polly and Pollyanna shopping in the department store was a highly iconic moment in the movie. It showed the stark contrast between Aunt Polly's formal, reserved manner and Pollyanna's enthusiasm for all things new. Store consultants were eager to help them find proper clothing for Pollyanna, which Aunt Polly would give her approval to with a nod.
Pollyanna emerges from a changing room in her underwear at one particular moment. While Aunt Polly initially scolds her, no one else bats an eyelid when she continues trying on hats wearing just her underwear.
This scene was filmed at 500 South Buena Vista Street in Burbank, California, at a studio backlot/movie set owned by Disney. This is a central film production hub that has hosted several other famous movies, including "Pretty Woman" (1990), "The Rocketeer" (1991), and "Catch Me If You Can" (2002).
To get to this filming location from the Los Angeles city center, take the 5 Freeway north towards Ventura County for about 30 minutes until you reach Buena Vista Street; turn right onto the street and follow it until you see the Walt Disney Studios sign on your left-hand side where you should turn into the lot entrance. Plenty of parking spots are available inside and outside the property's perimeter walls.
Preacher's fire and brimstone sermons scene in Pollyanna
Walt Disney Studios, 500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, California, USA
The scene in the movie takes place in a church where the Preacher (Karl Malden) delivers one of his fiery sermons. This starkly contrasts Pollyanna’s usual experiences with religion, as her father was more focused on finding good things to preach about.
The whole scene is both comical and frightening; you can feel an ominous atmosphere from the preacher's words to the blast he makes. Even the chandelier shakes, thanks to Malden's booming voice!
The church scene was shot at a studio backlot/Pollyanna movie set at Walt Disney Studios on 500 South Buena Vista Street. This is an iconic location where Disney movies have been filmed for decades. While no guided tours are available due to safety precautions, visitors can walk around and see all the different sets used for various classic films.
From the center of Los Angeles, take a 30-minute drive north on the 5 Freeway towards Ventura County, then turn right onto Buena Vista Street. You'll find the Walt Disney Studios sign to your left - don't forget to make that all-important turn into their lot entrance!
Taking a day trip from Santa Rosa to wine country rewards you with breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys across, made famous by the timeless classic! So why not embark on your journey through history and experience some of these superb locations yourself?
The 1960 movie adaptation of 'Pollyanna' was a significant success in both commercial and critical terms. Hayley Mills' performance as the titular character was superb, and her charm and appeal made it easy to understand why she became an instant star after portraying the role.
The script, written by Eleanor Porter and adapted to the screen by Walt Disney Productions, was well-crafted and full of charm with plenty of heartwarming moments. The movie revived interest in Eleanor Porter's book series on which it is based, and it continues to be read by children worldwide even today.
Pollyanna is worth watching if you're looking for uplifting escapism that will make your heart thaw out even during these trying times. Its timeless message of optimism remains relevant almost sixty years after it originally came out.