Designed by architect Alexander Parris in the Federal style, the mansion sits close to the site of a modest frame structure that served as the home to Virginia’s governors after the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780.
The mansion’s original grounds included a separate cookhouse, smokehouse, stable, ice house, carriage and cannon houses. Three of these original buildings remain today including the main house, cookhouse and the carriage house. The mansion also includes private living quarters for the First Family.
This executive residence is both a Virginia and a National Historic Landmark, and has had a number of renovations and expansions during the 20th century.
The mansion has hosted a wide range of dignitaries including His Royal Highness Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; President Rutherford B. Hayes, President Theodore Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, aviator Charles Lindbergh and Senator Barack Obama, who later became President.
The executive residence is located within the historic gates of Capitol Square, a park area that includes the State Capitol, the Bell Tower, Patrick Henry Building, Old City Hall, and several monuments to Virginia history.