Executive Mansion (Virginia)

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Virginia Governor's Mansion
2011-07-10 Virginia Executive Mansion.jpg
Virginia Executive Mansion on July 10, 2011
Executive Mansion (Virginia) is located in Virginia
Executive Mansion (Virginia)
Executive Mansion (Virginia) is located in the United States
Executive Mansion (Virginia)
LocationCapitol Square, Richmond, Virginia
Coordinates37°32′19″N 77°25′57″W / 37.53861°N 77.43250°W / 37.53861; -77.43250Coordinates: 37°32′19″N 77°25′57″W / 37.53861°N 77.43250°W / 37.53861; -77.43250
Built1811 (1811)
ArchitectParris, Alexander; Thompkins, Christopher
Architectural styleFederal
NRHP reference No.69000360[1]
VLR No.127-0057
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 4, 1969
Designated NHLJune 7, 1988[3]
Designated VLRNovember 5, 1968[2]

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, the Virginia State Capitol, also in Richmond, housed offices of the Confederacy. Tours of the mansion are offered several days a week.


The Executive Mansion in 1905

When Richmond became the capital of Virginia in 1779, there was no residence for the governor, but Thomas Jefferson rented one. The state was so poor that it could not pay the rent in time and blamed Jefferson for the problem. The state finally paid its 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. 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 Richmond Theatre fire while he was saving others on December 26, 1811.[4] 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.[5] Under 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 to provide additional living space for the First Family.

Anne Holton lived in the mansion twice: during the 1970s when her father, A. Linwood Holton Jr., was governor and when her husband Tim Kaine was governor. Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph, known as "Patsy", was also the daughter and wife (to Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.) of Virginia governors, but never lived in the Mansion.

Currently, Governor Ralph Northam occupies the mansion.

In the Media[edit]

It was featured on American Idol (season 5) when Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, welcomed Richmond-native and Idol-finalist Elliott Yamin and his family to the mansion on national television.

Restoration and remodeling work on the Mansion was shown on Bob Vila's Home Again television show's tenth season, which aired in early 2000.

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.

Plaque that is at the gate of the mansion, describing its history.

Distinguished visitors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Virginia Governor's Mansion". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  4. ^ "Richmond Theatre Fire - December 26, 1811". Richmond Times-Dispatch. 2009-01-26. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Library of Virginia: About the Charles F. Gillette Photograph Collection

External links[edit]