Wisconsin Governor's Mansion
The Wisconsin Governor's Mansion is only one of four official state governor's residences in the country that is not located within its state's capital (the others being Drumthwacket, located in Princeton, New Jersey, instead of Trenton, the Ohio Governor's Mansion, located in the suburb of Bexley instead of Columbus, and the Tennessee Governor's Mansion, located in Oak Hill instead of Nashville, Tennessee).
Construction began in 1920 for Madison industrialist Carl A. Johnson as a home. Twelve years later, it was purchased by Thomas R. Hefty, a Madison banker, who sold it to the State during 1949 for $47,500. Governors of Wisconsin, and their families, have resided in the residence ever since.
Architect Frank Riley of Madison, Wisconsin, designed the mansion in the southern Classical Revival style. The Residence sits on 3.7 acres (15,000 m2) along Lake Mendota. Although it was renovated extensively during the 1960s, the Residence now is much as Johnson planned originally. The more than 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of living space include 34 rooms, 13 bathrooms and 7 bedrooms and fireplaces. Several items of Wisconsin historical interest may be found throughout the Executive Residence. The wrought-iron fence on the street side of the property originally surrounded the old State Capitol Building. The mansion is wood framed structure with painted stucco over sandstone and hollow clay tile face. It is three stories high and has a basement level for a total of 20,777 gross square feet. There are 7 major garden areas, including a screened-in gazebo and winding walkways that lead to the lake shore.
An estimated 20,000 visitors a year pass through the doors for receptions, dinners, meetings, and public tours. Governor Scott Walker is the 14th governor to live in the Executive Residence.
Public tours are offered every Thursday during the months of April through August from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Holiday tours are also offered during December.
There is no charge for admission. Groups of 20 or more are required to make a reservation.
In 2009, then Governor Jim Doyle requested the installation of solar panels on the side roof of the governor's mansion. The plan was approved by a board that handles building projects. The panels power the hot water heater for the residence.
The building is administered by the State Capital & Executive Residence Board (SCERB), which must approve the annual maintenance budget and major capital improvements. The 16-member State Capitol Executive Residence Board includes 7 citizen members with specified expertise appointed by the governor to serve staggered 6-year terms. The purpose of the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board is to: "direct the continuing and consistent maintenance of the property, decorative furniture and furnishings of the Capitol and Executive Residence". The staff of the Residence are part of the Wisconsin Department of Administration's Capital Bureau Building Management team. An on-site Capital Police detail guards the building year-round.
The Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, a non-profit, raises money to pay for maintenance that SCERB is unable or unwilling to spend state tax dollars on. The Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation was established during 1964 by act of the Wisconsin Legislature at the request of Dorothy Knowles, the wife of Governor Warren Knowles. She said at the time " the place was a firetrap, we were afraid to move in." After the establishment of the foundation, the Residence received its first major renovation since its purchase during 1949. Each First Lady of the state is ex-officio chairman of the foundation's board.
- "State Facilities - Governor's Executive Residence". Doa.state.wi.us. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- "Solar Panels at Governor's Mansion | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | Local News". Todaystmj4.com. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2011-03-14.