Executive Mansion (Virginia)
The Executive Mansion in 1905
|Architect||Parris, Alexander; Thompkins, Christopher|
|NRHP Reference #||69000360|
|Added to NRHP||June 4, 1969|
|Designated NHL||June 7, 1988|
|Designated VLR||November 5, 1968|
The Virginia Governor's Mansion, better known as the Executive Mansion, is located in Richmond, Virginia, on Capitol Square and serves as the official residence of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Designed by Alexander Parris, it is the oldest occupied governor's mansion in the United States. It has served as the home of Virginia governors and their families since 1813. This mansion is both a Virginia and a National Historic Landmark, and has had a number of successive renovations and expansions during the 20th century. Adjacent and immediately north of Capitol Square is the Court End neighborhood, which houses the White House of the Confederacy. During the Civil War, Virginia's statehouse, also in Richmond, housed offices of the Confederacy.
When Richmond became the capital of Virginia during 1779, there was no residence for the governor, but Thomas Jefferson rented one. The state was so poor that they could not pay the rent in time, so they blamed Jefferson for the problem. The state finally paid their rent and built a residence for the governor on the site of the present building.
The law that provided for the construction of the current building was signed on February 13, 1811, by James Monroe with the building being completed in 1813. Monroe's term ended and he was succeeded by George William Smith. Smith, however, was not the first governor to live in the mansion because he lost his life in the burning of the Richmond Theatre saving others December 26, 1811. His successor, James Barbour, was the first governor to live in the mansion. The term "mansion" was not used in the law authorizing it to be built, but it has been used ever since.
The gardens were redesigned in the 1950s at the request of Governor Thomas B. Stanley by noted landscape architect Charles Gillette. During the Administration of Governor James S. Gilmore III the Mansion was renovated and expanded in an effort to restore the home to its historical appearance, but also to bring the Mansion into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide additional living space for the First Family.
Currently, Governor Bob McDonnell occupies the mansion. His predecessor's wife, Anne Holton, lived in the mansion during the 1970s when her father, A. Linwood Holton Jr., was governor. (Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph, known as "Patsy", was married to Virginia Governor Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., but never lived in the Mansion).
The Executive Mansion was featured on American Idol (season 5) when Governor Tim Kaine and his wife Anne Holton welcomed Richmond-native and Idol-finalist Elliott Yamin and his family to the mansion on national television.
The Mansion's most notable television appearance occurred on January 31, 2006, when recently inaugurated Governor Tim Kaine delivered the Democratic response to the 2006 State of the Union address. The address was delivered from the Mansion's historic ballroom.
Tours of the mansion are offered several days a week.
Distinguished visitors to the mansion
- Prince of Wales (later became King Edward VII)
- Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth realms
- President Rutherford B. Hayes
- President Grover Cleveland
- President William McKinley
- President Theodore Roosevelt
- President William Howard Taft
- Arthur Balfour (Lord Balfour)
- Ferdinand Foch
- Winston Churchill
- Charles Lindbergh
- Richard Evelyn Byrd
- President Barack Obama
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Virginia Governor's Mansion". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- "Richmond Theatre Fire - December 26, 1811". Richmond Times-Dispatch. 2009-01-26.
- Library of Virginia: About the Charles F. Gillette Photograph Collection
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Executive Mansion (Virginia).|
- Official site for the Executive Mansion
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- Homes Of Virginia - The Governor's Mansion
- Richmond, Virginia, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary