NORTH CAROLINA EXECUTIVE MANSION
 
 

 
The North Carolina Executive Mansion, often referred to as the Governors Mansion, is a monumental building located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is currently home to North Carolina's governor, Jim Hunt. The mansion on Fayetville Street in downtown Raleigh has not always been the residency for North Carolina state governors, in fact, it is the fourth official house that has been selected. 
 
The first palace, "Tyron Palace," designed by John Hawkes was the first governor's mansion present. Completed in 1770, this palatial brick Georgian-style residence  was the seat of government until 1792, when Raleigh was named the new capitol city. There, a two-story frame structure was built at the corner of Fayettville and Hargett Street. This "palace" was selected in 1797 as the second official governor's palace. In 1816, Boston builder James Calder completed the third official "palace." Located at the foot of  Fayetteville Street, site of Memorial Auditorium, this two-story brick structure was the official residence of 20 governors from 1816 to1865. When Raleigh joined the Union side during the Civil War, the governors palace served as a headquarters for General W. T. Sherman and then for the North Carolina military commandment, resulting in destruction, leaving the house with unfit living conditions. 
 
After three "palaces" which all turned into abandoning, governors living in rented houses, and aggressive lobbying of Governor Thomas J. Jarvis, the General Assembly authorized construction of the present governor's residence on Burke Square in 1883. Colonel William J. Hicks, warden of the state penitentiary, supervised the construction using prison labor and native products such as clay, sandstone, and timber. Even today, prisoners' names can be found etched in the brick and sandstone that build the house.After seven years of construction, there were many struggles to find money and win approvals from legislators and citizens to finish the building. After seven years in 1900, the final palace was finished. 
 
The interior of the mansion is very well designed. When you walk in there are portraits of past governors on the wall. Usually, the present governor's potrait is located in front of all the rest, but the governor has the option to re-arrange them any way he likes. As you walk around you will notice that there are 15 rooms in the mansion. There is  the Gentlemanís Parlor, Ballroom, Library, the Dining Room, Ladies Parlor,  Morning Room, living and dining area, southwest bedroom, northwest bedroom, east bedroom, south central bedroom, northeast bedroom,  southeast bedroom, kitchen , and the family den. Arranged around the house are fourteen fireplacees, including two in the ballroom, and two in the conference room. 

The gentlmen's parlor has very unique features. It has a red handmade rug with four medallions representing  four historic North Carolina moments: the 1903 Wright Brothersí flight, DeSoto's expedition  in 1540, Sir Walter Raleigh's funding for attempting to establish the first colony, and the 1795 founding of our state's first university. 
 
 
The library also has many unique features. The bookcases were handmade in Asheville and brought over especially for the mansion. A good majority of the books here are North Carolina history and fact books. But there are many reading books that the governors might pick up to read. On the wall of the library there are many maps and documental forms that are impordant to North Carolina. The current governor, Jim Hunt, likes the library so much that he holds most of his meetings here instead of the conference room.
 
The dining room is used when receptions are taking place and when a large number of people need to be fed. To meet these needs, the room is the largest in the house. The San Domingo mahogany table can serve up to 24 people. Around the end of World War II, a German woman donated an Australian chandelier because of the way she was treated so kindly when she arrived in North Carolina. 
 
Since its initial construction in 1882, few major changes have been made to the building's structure. Porches on the north and east sides have been enclosed to expand kitchen and security facilities. The 14 foot high ceiling fits a huge Christmas tree in which the governor traditionally turns on the lights after Thanksgiving. As you walk in you see a huge red carpet given to the house and state for its 100th anniversary. 

Overall, the house is very historical and interesting . If you ever have a chance to visit the North Carolina Governor's Mansion then you should go visit. After all, the only other way is to win your way into office.

 
  Click Here to See Pictures of the NC Governors Mansion
Courtesy of NC Division of  Travel and Tourism
Bibliography
The North Carolina Executive Mansion, http://www.itpi.dpi.state.nc.us/caroclips/raleigh/execmansion.html, January 1999.


WEB page by Derek Jones.
  Return to Ligon's Monu-MENTAL Web Site.
For questions or comments contact  Ann Thompson.
Ligon GT Magnet Middle School
706 East Lenoir Street
Raleigh, NC  27615
(919)856-7941 (Technology Lab)
(919) 856-7939 (VM)
(919) 856-3745 (FAX)