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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mississippi Governor's Mansion

Mississippi Governor's Mansion

The Mississippi Governor's Mansion is a historic residence in Jackson, MS, located at 300 East Capitol Street. Since it's first use in 1842, It is the second oldest executive residence in the U.S. that has been continuously occupied as a gubernatorial residence (only Virginia's Executive Mansion is older). In 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Then, It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1975, an honor previously bestowed on only one other state gubernatorial residence. The mansion was also declared a Mississippi Landmark in 1985.

William Nichols designed the Mansion in the period’s most popular architectural style – Greek Revival. Architectural historians consider the mansion to be one of the finest surviving examples of the Greek Revival style in the U.S. In 1840, here is how Nichols described his plans to the state legislature:

"The building will be seventy-two by fifty-three feet. The ground or basement story is eight feet high and is divided into servants’ room, store rooms, and cellar. On the principal floor the main entrance is from a portico twenty-eight by twelve feet, into an octagon vestibule, which communicates with a drawing room fifty by twenty-four feet, with a dining room which by means of folding doors may be made of the same size, and with the great staircase leading to the upper floor; … the upper floor will contain four spacious chambers, a wardrobe and a private staircase, communicating with the basement story. The portico on the principal front will be supported by columns of the Corinthian order. In finishing the building, it is intended to avoid a profusion of ornament, and to adhere to a plain simplicity, as best comporting with the dignity of the state."

After about seven decades of use, it started to fall into disrepair that in 1908 newly elected Governor Edmund Noel refused to move in. The legislature approved funding for renovations and many internal changes were made. About another seven decades passed and the story repeated itself in 1971 and Governor John Bell Williams had to move out for a second major renovation. Mark your calendars for 2035 when it might be due to happen again. For a more complete history: mdah.state.ms.us/museum/mhistory.html

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