Let's play spot the former plantation
August 29, 2015 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Something you seldom think about: A fascinating imgur set of The Governor's Mansions of the United States, sorted alphabetically.

(From a civilized discussion in reddit.)
posted by growabrain (91 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Delaware looks like I built it in Minecraft.
posted by howfar at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think about them that much because Vermont doesn't even have one. The one pictured in the list seems to be this building, which was just one governor's private residence and is now a hotel.
posted by Earthtopus at 8:27 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Somebody go help out the Dakotas. Those're just sad. And damn, Georgia, I've seen strip malls with more swagger than that brick monstrosity. Looks like a laundromat. New Mexico's looks suspiciously like it was built by somebody's hippie general-contractor in-law. But wow California, yall got a helluva governor's mansion.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:29 AM on August 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the fact that some of them are more or less just large-ish regular houses.
posted by slkinsey at 8:30 AM on August 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Florida's and Georgia's look like nursing homes. But at least they don't seem to be made of the sweat of the enslaved like Mississippi's.
Idaho's looks like it belongs to a charismatic preacher who's preparing to fend off and/or start the apocalypse.
Michigan's looks like a big house cut up into ten ratty apartments near a college.

Thanks for this! A Governor's Mansion is, I think, an outdated concept for a country in which a governor is generally somebody with multiple houses of their own, or means thereto. I like New Mexico's mansion's climate-appropriate humility.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:37 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Deleware needs to get some landscaping done, or something. No curb appeal...
posted by Windopaene at 8:38 AM on August 29, 2015


i was confused when i got to arkansas because i didn't think we used one of the plantation houses for our governor's mansion, and low and behold, nope, we just really want it to look like we did, i guess. that became the governor's mansion in 1950 - also, as a note, presidential candidate and all around asshole, mike huckabee made significant improvements while he lived there and had some shady dealings around a bunch of furniture. should the worst come to pass and he makes it into the white house, they better make sure the important shit is bolted down.
posted by nadawi at 8:39 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pretty poor job on the alphabetization.
posted by ootsocsid at 8:40 AM on August 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


From the same poster: State birds.
posted by growabrain at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually liked North Dakota. California, to me, looks like a Victorian Bed & Breakfast (we had lots of those up in Door County). I mean a really fucking nice one, but still...

It is funny how a lot look like just plain old houses. The ones I liked:

AZ, CA, ID (haha WUT??), IA (even though it looks like a really fucked up schoolhouse), KS (? Sorta kinda, but not sold - if it were that brick shit or all white I think I'd hate it or think it's too much, but this yellowish whatever material... it kinda makes it... tolerably somewhat nice, in an awkward way), ME, MT, ugh MS (plantation, yeah, but I like that round porch), MO (for it's unique style on the roof), NM (kinda sorta), ND, OR (I kinda like Tudor), UT (love the Cupolas), WY

On the fence about KY.

MI reaaaaaaaaally looks like a boring old regular house but it has its charm... MN looks like a fucking fancy school.

Some of these are too fancy (but I guess what I would expect from a Gov. Mansion... AL, AK, AR, CO, FL, GA, HI, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MD, MS, NV, NJ, NY, OH (of all the brick ones, this seems to be my favorite, at least), OK (WTF???), OR (also on my favorites, though), SC, TN, UT(not sure if I think it's too much or just right), WV, WA.

Some of the too much isn't so much size, necessarily, though that plays a factor. A big one, but fugly one doesn't necessarily count. Not sure. Some would be in my "nice" list if they weren't so fucking big.

Anyways, surprised that some just look like shit boring brick houses.
posted by symbioid at 8:50 AM on August 29, 2015


The linked reddit thread has some good comments with corrections for some of these. I'll mention ours, Montana, is the original governor's mansion, now a museum.
posted by traveler_ at 8:52 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Once again it is hard for me to be proud to be a Georgian. But it is interesting to se the variety there. Although an awful lot seem to be going for the plantation look, even Alaska.
posted by TedW at 8:53 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was not previously aware that my Governor's mansion was a mock Tudor gem. This pleases me. Thank you.
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 8:54 AM on August 29, 2015


Georgia's is ugly because it's not very old. Atlanta didn't become the capital until 1868, after the Civil War. The original Atlanta governor's mansion was downtown, i.e., close to where the governor works. In the 1920s, that mansion was demolished, and the governor moved 3-4 miles north to Ansley Park in Midtown, which must have seemed like the sticks at the time, or at least the suburbs. In the 1960s, I guess white flight made even that feel too urban, and they moved the governor to the ugly brick monstrosity in Buckhead. If Gov. Deal ever comes to work, it must take his driver a good 30-40 minutes to get him there through Atlanta traffic.

It's ironic because Atlanta is the third state capitol I've lived and worked in, and while I am intimately familiar with the NC and MD mansions because I used to walk right past them both on a regular basis in the process of living there, I've never even seen the GA mansion, because why would I go to Buckhead?
posted by hydropsyche at 9:00 AM on August 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


The last California governor to live in our mansion was Reagan. Brown (first time) just had a apartment downtown , the next few guys lived in place just out of town, Arnie just lived in Los Angeles, and I think Brown (this time) has an apartment again.
posted by sideshow at 9:03 AM on August 29, 2015


Kentucky and New Jersey seem to be in the lead for 'most pretentious', but Utah's castle is giving them a run for the money. North Dakota just looks like an elementary school, and Delaware like a standard 2 or 3-dedroom brick cube.

And what's up with Idaho? Does the governor live up on that isolated mountaintop to keep the riffraff away?
posted by easily confused at 9:04 AM on August 29, 2015


Massachusetts doesn't have a governor's mansion. Don't know whose place that is, maybe Mitt's in Belmont?
posted by Diablevert at 9:06 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


California looks like the setting for a delightful children's book in which a bevy of siblings get up to wacky hijinks with their friend who is a ghost.

Idaho looks like it was designed to withstand a siege.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:06 AM on August 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


adding to the wtf of oklahoma, for a time this year, the governor's daughter lived in a trailer on the grounds. now she apparently lives somewhere in one of the buildings, joining a couple other of fallin's adult children.

also, maybe this changed after the renovation, but the livable space for the family before renovation in arkansas was something like 1400 sq ft and not very separated from the business/tour parts of the house.
posted by nadawi at 9:09 AM on August 29, 2015


Yeah, NJ is contending strongly for Most Pretentious honors.

I like most of the Midwestern ones. Delaware really needs to step up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:12 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


But wait, that isn't the real California governor's mansion, is it?
posted by mubba at 9:13 AM on August 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


What is up with the pool out in front of the Tennessee mansion? Is that where the Bond villain keeps his sharks?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:14 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think about them that much because Vermont doesn't even have one. The one pictured in the list seems to be this building, which was just one governor's private residence and is now a hotel.

It it fair to assume the same is true of New Hampshire? It just looks like somebody's house.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:16 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Utah has a beauty! Utah has plenty of elegant nineteenth century, large homes, farm houses, barns, and working agricultultural concerns from the first migration west. Many of the pioneers to Utah were Irish and Scandinavian. The names of the old first families and mansions of Salt Lake read like a walk through Joyce's Ulysses.

The Utah Governor's Mansion sits on the lower Avenues district, which was first called The Garden District, the first residential area in Salt Lake City. This is very close to the heart of the city, a half mile from the LDS Temple, and as the seagull flies, a half mile from the State Capitol.

Brigham Young kept his out of favor wives in a big pink house in the Sugarhouse area, which was a farm, yes they were sent down from the Garden District. This was explained to me by docents at the This Is the Place Pioneer Heritage Farm Park, set up across the road from Hogle Zoo. This is where the big pink house was moved to, in the eighties, along with other historic structures, creating a pleasing and informative living antiquity.
posted by Oyéah at 9:18 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the Vermont one is actually a detail from the label on a bottle of maple syrup.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:19 AM on August 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


In Michigan, we have two residences, does any other state have two residences?
posted by clavdivs at 9:19 AM on August 29, 2015


"A Governor's Mansion is, I think, an outdated concept for a country in which a governor is generally somebody with multiple houses of their own, or means thereto."

In Illinois, the first and second floor of the Governor's Mansion is receiving rooms, ballrooms, sitting rooms, and meeting rooms stocked with historic furnishings used for a) tours and B) official state receptions and business.

The third floor, where the governor actually lives, is a pretty boring modern apartment in what used to be the servants' quarters, and the elevator is broken; the gov has to take the servants' stairs. Many states are similar - its a ceremonial museum-ish building for conducting the more social end of state business (hosting parties, receiving visiting dignitaries) and a small part is set aside for an actual apartment.

Some Illinois governors rent a house or apartment nearby because it's really a pretty crappy apartment and all the money goes into the historic, formal rooms. (Housing is cheap in Springfield and the Governor's Mansion backs up to an okay-not-great neighborhood where you can buy a house for $60k.)

Oklahoma's looks ridiculous. I like how Alaska is a suburban house someone stuck a two-story Greek portico on the front of with no consideration of architectural pleasantries. It looks like a cute house! ... if you lose the portico.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:20 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


That Michigan picture is a bit misleading. The house is in a nice neighborhood overlooking the Grand River. It's more impressive from the river side. Also, the Michigan governor has a beautiful summer home on Mackinac Island. In fact, I'm pretty sure that picture is a bad view of the house on the island; the house in Lansing is much more modern. Wickipedia has details.
posted by not that girl at 9:25 AM on August 29, 2015


In fact what happens in Illinois is that wealthy governors are expected to a) live in the shitty Mansion apartment to show they're regular people and simultaneously B) donate millions of their own money to the public-private foundation that pays for Mansion upkeep and repair, because the state legislature never appropriates enough to maintain it as a historic site because "Why are we paying for a Mansion for a governor who already owns 6 houses?" So you have to live in the crappy apartment or take endless political hits about how you're too good to live there AND you have to pay millions and millions for the part you can't use.

Abraham Lincoln went to parties there, though, so we're stuck with it forever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:33 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Louisiana's is wrong. I don't know whose house that is.
posted by pqfnb2 at 9:36 AM on August 29, 2015


At the very least you have to admit that New Jersey's mansion has the best name of all: Drumthwacket.
posted by octothorpe at 9:36 AM on August 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


In Michigan, we have two residences, does any other state have two residences?

Alabama has a Governor's beach mansion that has been abandoned for 18 years.
posted by ndfine at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2015


The Oklahoma picture is deceptive. The actual mansion is the building to the far right. It is really tiny. I have toured it, and I wouldn't want to live in it. The state website says it has 12 rooms. That's counting all of the rooms, not just bedrooms, which are very small. The large building to the left is a ballroom, not anyplace anyone lives.
posted by Quonab at 10:00 AM on August 29, 2015


California's, to me, looks like it ought to be rendered in 16 colors and plopped down in Sierra's Gold Rush.
posted by Sequence at 10:00 AM on August 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


The only ones that look like I'd be interested in living in them are AZ and NM. Those plantation and faux-plantation ones look hideous to me. Western boy at heart, I guess.
posted by Fnarf at 10:07 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


California's looks like they picked it up in some dodgy deal with a studio after The Munsters had ceased production.

North Dakota's looks like they only gave it to the Governor after the local heroin user outreach shelter had turned it down for a drop-in centre.
posted by biffa at 10:14 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Georgia's looks exactly like the apartment building one of my childhood friends lived in. It's eerie.
posted by traveler_ at 10:23 AM on August 29, 2015


one of (oklahoma's shitty governor) fallin's kids lives in an apartment over a garage - is that in the main house or one of the other buildings?
posted by nadawi at 10:24 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kudos to them for scoring a perfect photo of the Governor's mansion in Washington D.C.. That pic totally captures the non-existence of both the building AND the governor.

It reminds me of when D.C.'s own National Air and Space Museum gave a rare one-day exhibition of Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet. I can't believe I didn't get to see it.
posted by argonauta at 10:28 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Idaho's looks like it belongs to a charismatic preacher who's preparing to fend off and/or start the apocalypse.

Yeah, no governor's mansion looks like a bunker ready for the fall of civilization as much as ours.
posted by straight at 10:28 AM on August 29, 2015


Wow, North Dakota's looks like juvie.
posted by keli at 10:32 AM on August 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


one of (oklahoma's shitty governor) fallin's kids lives in an apartment over a garage

omg like Mike Seaver (swooooooon)
posted by argonauta at 10:32 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Idaho one looks like Pablo Escobar's mountain redoubt.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:35 AM on August 29, 2015


I used to mock faux Tudor (or is it I used to faux mock Tudor?) houses, but the Oregon house is really charming.

The Washington mansion is on the grounds of the state capitol in Olympia, and I'm not sure it's even used as a residence any longer, as mentioned above, it's largely a place to have parties. Which is really what the White House is, too. Though I imagine the president's "apartment" there is a wee bit nicer than most of the ones in the state mansions.
posted by maxwelton at 10:35 AM on August 29, 2015


Indiana's mansion has a working honeybee hive in the back yard.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:39 AM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Which is really what the White House is, too.

Well, in fairness, the White House has the Situation Room.

The New Jersey governor's mansion also has a Situation Room. You walk in, and The Situation is standing there, and he's like "Yo, 'sup, babe?"

I'll just see myself out.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:56 AM on August 29, 2015 [14 favorites]


Oregon's Mahonia Hall was originally a hop farmer's home (who later became mayor.) It only became the "governor's residence" in the late 80s after a public fund raising effort. The home previously used wasn't remarkable nor as large.
posted by asterisk at 11:19 AM on August 29, 2015


Fun fact: both the Alabama and Oklahoma mansions have swimming pools shaped like their states.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:21 AM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll bet the Colorado and Wyoming ones do too.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:26 AM on August 29, 2015 [22 favorites]


A clarification about the house described as the Idaho governor's mansion:

It was built in the 1960s as a personal residence by J.R. Simplot, the wealthy potato magnate who founded Simplot Foods, and who was, until his recent death, the richest man in Idaho.

About ten years ago, he moved into a condo downtown and gave his house to the State of Idaho for use as a governor's mansion.

Every governor since then has looked at it and said, "WTF? I'm a man of the people, I'd never live in something like that!". No governor of Idaho has ever lived in it.

It was occasionally used as an event center, but was mostly a white elephant.

In 2013, the State of Idaho gave it back to the Simplot family.

The current governor lives on his personal ranch about 20 miles outside of Boise.

A couple of news articles:

Public sounds off on future of Simplot Mansion

State giving Governor's mansion back to Simplot family
posted by Hatashran at 11:29 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alaska’s is on a small lot (little set-back, small yard on one side) in amongst an old downtown residential neighborhood (and walking distance to the capitol building). In the 1990s friends’ kids played freely in the yard with Tony Knowles’ kids. Alaskan governors are unavoidably living in a real neighborhood (including poor people a block away).

Most governors embrace this, but I’ll note that Sarah Palin spent as little time as possible staying there (I’d say she never really lived there).
posted by D.C. at 11:33 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Regarding California's mansion: while it does look like a movie set piece, it was built in 1877 for a man who had done very sell selling equipment to gold miners.

Arnie just lived in Los Angeles
and he stayed at the Hyatt when he was in town overnight.
posted by jamaro at 11:43 AM on August 29, 2015


Boy, you Americans really like greek columns, don't ya?
posted by brokkr at 11:43 AM on August 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


wealthy potato magnate

I...just want this on my business card.
posted by jamaro at 11:45 AM on August 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I did NOT waste the entire 5th grade memorizing "Fifty Nifty United States" and having it as an earworm for the rest of my GD life only to have some jackass come along and list the states in ALMOST alphabetical order.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


wealthy potato magnate

Potentate?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:57 AM on August 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


Not too surprisingly there's a Wiki page on the subject.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:06 PM on August 29, 2015


I swear the one in New Hampshire looks like it's where Home Alone was set, and Bob Newhart must be running the one in Vermont.
posted by chimaera at 12:09 PM on August 29, 2015


I like the ones like Kansas and New York where ut looks like the unsuccessful partial fusion of four other houses
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on August 29, 2015


Really? Delware? Sounds like food containers shaped like delete keys...
posted by Sintram at 12:19 PM on August 29, 2015


For the Illinois Governor's mansion, I had really expected Englewood.
posted by frimble at 12:31 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


The current governor lives on his personal ranch about 20 miles outside of Boise.

You mean to tell me that the mountain fortress in the picture isn't the residence of Governor Butch Otter? I am disappoint.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:32 PM on August 29, 2015


Massachusetts doesn't have a governor's mansion. Don't know whose place that is, maybe Mitt's in Belmont?

Deval Patrick's (former) home in Milton.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:44 PM on August 29, 2015


From the same poster: State birds.

So basically if you could merge a cardinal and a mockingbird, you could have the perfect state bird then? I mean, judging from all the options there...
posted by sciatrix at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2015


Boy, you Americans really like greek columns, don't ya?

The columns represent democracy.
posted by Flashman at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Looking back over them, Vermont had better get their roof & gutters checked before the winter snows hit: there appears to be a giant sheet of icicles hanging off there.
posted by easily confused at 1:02 PM on August 29, 2015


New Mexico's looks like a middle school or a nursing home.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:08 PM on August 29, 2015


Yeah that house shown as Louisiana's governor's mansion is incorrect. I *think* that is the house at the corner of Government and 22nd in Baton Rouge, which may have belonged to former representative Cleo Fields.

Now I will spend an hour on google maps trying to figure this out.
posted by tryniti at 1:08 PM on August 29, 2015


P. sure the Idaho one is actually Rohan
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:15 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Boy, you Americans really like greek columns, don't ya?

The columns represent democracy.


You know, it strikes me that that's actually, literally true. The reason half of them have columns is because they're all harkening back to the neo-classical, Greek revival style that was popular around the time of the revolution and used in famous buildings like Monticello and the White House, and which in turn was popular as a style as part of the broader Enlightenment fascination with the classical world and attempts to emulate it --- ultimately, they're all trying to look like mini-Parthenons, by way of Palladio. Because Athens was the birthplace of democracy. I wonder if most countries end up riffing on the styles of their golden age in their official buildings.
posted by Diablevert at 1:24 PM on August 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


maxwelton: "it's largely a place to have parties."

The Illinois mansion is one of the properties my husband oversees, so I've been trying to think of events that might be of interest to MeFites that get held there. When Springfield passed a backyard chickens ordinance the Governor's Mansion got a backyard coop with some fancy-ass chickens bred (and cared for) by the local 4H kids. (They have gone back to the kids, though, because the new governor has a pair of elderly dogs who were going BERSERK wanting to eat those chickens and it was stressing out the birds and the dogs.)

Lot of fundraisers, especially relating to fundraising for state foundations (charities that support state parks or state historic sites or things like that). Lots and lots of tours, especially school groups, and the current governor (whom I otherwise detest) does pop his head in to the "fancy" part of the mansion to say hi to school groups most days he's in Springfield.

When Illinois passed our gay marriage law, the governor (last one, Quinn) hosted the after-party for the legislature and aides and lobbyists at the Governor's Mansion and, adorably, one of the state legislators proposed to his boyfriend. (Or maybe the boyfriend proposed to him, anyway, it was cute.)

Illinois's is the third-oldest in the nation and has been in continuous use since 1855. It's not in great repair to start with but Polar Vortex wrecked the shit out of the roof a couple years back, so it's getting to crisis levels. There is a staff of about a dozen for the Mansion itself, who maintain the grounds and lead tours and do preservation and curation of the Mansion, but there is no personal staff for the governor, who's expected to do his own darn laundry and cook his own darn food (in the crappy upstairs apartment). They claim it's the busiest governor's mansion in the country, but I'm not sure if that's by public visitors or events or what.

In addition to every governor of Illinois since 1855 living there at least part time (except Blagojevich, who was too good for the Mansion and flew back and forth to Chicago daily in a state jet at ENORMOUS EXPENSE), the Mansion has formally hosted sitting presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt; future presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama; the entire Lincoln family socially; General William Sherman; “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Annie Oakley; and lots of other people. It, of course, has a Lincoln Bedroom.

Flashman: "The columns represent democracy."

Literally. The Founding Fathers spent a lot of time thinking about the Best Ways to Emulate Athens and building Greek-y looking buildings to express our democratic values. Now it's sort-of what we expect of public buildings ... at least those that aren't built of cinderblock and painted like grade schools. Ergo some very lovely buildings ... and a lot of columns stuck on the front of buildings that clearly do not need them, with no sense of scale or proportion. (On preview, yep, see above.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:27 PM on August 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


I kind of love how, on the front porch of the Wisconsin Governor's Mansion (which I've never seen, despite living in Madison most of my life and driving past the neighborhood it's in every single day on the way to work), is a UW-Madison Union Terrace chair. But not the little kind you can sit on at the Union Terrace--check out where the seat level is, about doorknob level. It's a HUGE Terrace chair! Ironic considering how little respect the current Governor has for the UW-Madison.
posted by gillyflower at 1:46 PM on August 29, 2015


If some horrible fate befell me and I became gov, I would absolutely turn the previous mansion into a museum and have a super-ultra-modern new place built. It would be something like a cross between Monsanto's House of The Future, formerly at Disneyland, the house Jacques Tati visits in Mon Oncle, and the home of The Jetsons.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 1:56 PM on August 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not sure exactly where the VT governor lives, but I think here. At least it's in this neighborhood. Couldn't tell if it has a bird feeder.
posted by MtDewd at 2:09 PM on August 29, 2015


Yeah the California one is strictly historic as a place of residence.
posted by atoxyl at 2:19 PM on August 29, 2015


Yeah, NJ is contending strongly for Most Pretentious honors.

Not to mention the fact that the NJ Governor's mansion is in Princeton, not Trenton.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 2:25 PM on August 29, 2015


The columns represent democracy.

...and penises. But I repeat myself.
posted by argonauta at 2:28 PM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]



Literally. The Founding Fathers spent a lot of time thinking about the Best Ways to Emulate Athens and building Greek-y looking buildings to express our democratic values. Now it's sort-of what we expect of public buildings ... at least those that aren't built of cinderblock and painted like grade schools. Ergo some very lovely buildings ... and a lot of columns stuck on the front of buildings that clearly do not need them, with no sense of scale or proportion. (On preview, yep, see above.)


and this City Beautiful Neo-Classical revival stuff totally plowed over Sullivanesque, an emerging, native style that incorporated modern materials and mass production while still being beautiful and functional and embracing modern ideas about space and light and was the democratic ideal WROUGHT IN IRON cause all the bat-like geometrical flourishes are also STRUCTURAL and necessary and it was about making beauty WITH the modern materials and factories not in spite of them and it was THROWN AWAY IN FAVOR OF HURF DURF MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A GREEK TEMPLE MOAR WHITEWASH FEDERALIST STYLE ISN'T BORING AT ALL DURRR

I am so angry about this wow.
posted by The Whelk at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


RI doesn't have a governor's mansion. Raimindo lives in her own house a couple of blocks from me.
posted by grubby at 3:00 PM on August 29, 2015


This is the place they have listed for Ohio, but it's not anymore, this is the current governor's mansion.
posted by katieanne at 3:54 PM on August 29, 2015


>The columns represent democracy.

>>You know, it strikes me that that's actually, literally true.

>>>Literally.


That is actually why I made the comment. Not everything I say here is a facetious wisecrack. Thanks (sincerely) for expanding on the theme that I was too lazy to.
posted by Flashman at 4:43 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia, of course, has the works.

A lot of the articles are really interesting! Hawaii: Former Royal Residence. Idaho: Spiteful dickishness abounds! Missouri: "This mansion is far too opulent! Build me a new one!" -- plus multiple fires and a gubernatorial suicide. Super-old New Mexico. Nevada divorce drama! Early-sixties North Dakota ranch house slated for demolition and set to be replaced by a $5M boondoggle.

And I'm barely halfway through!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:00 PM on August 29, 2015


Hawaii's is lovely. New Jersey's I think I saw on MTV Cribs.
posted by soakimbo at 5:29 PM on August 29, 2015


No governor's mansion in Massachusetts, either - New England, huzzah! This is why Mike Dukakis often took the trolley to work from his home in Brookline when he was governor.

On the plus side, we have a quaint tradition: The State House's center doors are always locked, except when some dignitary visits, but, more important, when the governor leaves office for the last time. He or she is supposed to walk out the doors, down the steps of the State House and onto the Common, there to become a member of the general public again. Most governors actually walk across the Common. Mitt Romney, of course, had a limo waiting for him there.
posted by adamg at 6:56 PM on August 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Indiana seemed to have trouble finding a residence that governors would accept. After the capital was moved to Indianapolis in the 1820s, the first residence was constructed in the circle of the middle of downtown. The then-governor's wife refused to live there because of the lack of privacy---everyone would see their laundry hanging out to dry, if nothing else. The residence the state bought in the 1830s as a replacement was evidently impressively damp, and within a couple decades governors refused to live there, too. The state then gave up on an official residence until after World War I. More recently Mitch Daniels chose to stay in his own gated community in the northern suburbs instead of moving into the current governor's residence, but I guess at least he didn't have to be flown to work.
posted by percolatrix at 7:37 PM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


New Hampshire's is hopelessly unprepossessing; it looks like it belongs in a suburban sub-division from the 70s but it is actually historic, having been built in 1836. Maybe it's the apathetic landscaping although they did manage a few birch trees (the state tree).

I think Iowa wins this one. It's so American it could be a building at Disneyland.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:03 PM on August 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been inside the NE governor's mansion a few times for work (and during one visit got to pet the gubernatorial dog, who was a cute little fuzzball). It's definitely just a big brick house with not much special about it. The interior looks like it was done over really nicely sometime in the mid 1980s and maintained but not updated since then. It's a little odd to walk around it, since it's a public space and a private space mashed together and the result makes it seem like a weird bed and breakfast.
posted by PussKillian at 8:39 PM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


They forgot the Governor's House in American Samoa which is an interesting bit of architecture with an interesting bit of history, and with a far better view than any of the others (old view from nearby, view back at it).
posted by barnacles at 9:26 PM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


California's mansion looks like someone started building a house and no one said "Whoa!"

Re: Kansas' gubernatorial mansion, Cedar Crest: I was in that mansion in 1982 when my honors American government class took a field trip to Topeka. The house was white then; I don't know when the sickly yellow was put on.

Cedar Crest looks big in the photo, but it is actually the smallest of the governor's mansions: 6,000 square feet. But it sits on the largest plot of land set aside for a governor, 244 acres. Divine from that what you will. It is beautiful up there (or it was until the yellow paint).

That there were nearly 30 of us on that tour may have colored my perceptions a bit, but the place truly felt small. The governor's home office was claustrophobic. It was difficult for all of us to ascend and descend the narrow staircase that winds up to the family's bedrooms and maybe also a guest room; I forget about the latter. The hallways are narrow. The living room is smallish. No Kansas governor will get above himself while he's in the house. The Capitol, perhaps, but not Cedar Crest.
posted by bryon at 9:58 PM on August 29, 2015


Weird, they have Ohio's wrong. It's in Bexley. I go running past it all the time - it's pretty incredible.

Ohio Governor's Mansion

John Kasich doesn't live there. He lives in Westerville, which I believe has incurred added expense to the state, because his Westerville residence needed enhanced security and of course someone still has to keep an eye on the mansion, which isn't being used but still needs upkeep and security. Kind of a weird situation for a fiscal conservative.
posted by imabanana at 12:04 AM on August 30, 2015


When I was a kid my mom would sometimes drive past the California Governor's Mansion Reagan built but never lived in. She would slowly creep past it, using it as an example of Reagan's governance. (He was still president at the time.)

It was a kind of sick joke, but I can't blame the governors for not wanting to live in Carmichael. I was happy when they finally sold it.
posted by kendrak at 12:17 AM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


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