The Former Governor’s Mansion State Historic Site is a significant landmark, shedding light on its region’s political and social history. Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, the mansion was the official residence of North Dakota’s governors from 1893 to 1960. This elegant, 2.5-story Queen Anne-style house is a testament to the architectural tastes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Constructed in 1884, the mansion was purchased by the state in 1893. Over the years, it sheltered 20 of the state’s chief executives and their families. As governors came and went, the mansion underwent various renovations to suit their preferences. These changes, ranging from structural modifications to simple redecorations, offer a fascinating glimpse into its residents’ evolving tastes and necessities.
Beyond its political significance, the site is notable for its beautifully preserved interiors, which feature period-appropriate furnishings and décor. These serve as a visual journey into the lifestyles and domestic environments of the early 20th century, showcasing trends of the time.
One particularly interesting fact about the mansion is that during the 1920s, it played a temporary role as a chicken coop. Due to the financial pressures of the time and the governor’s innovative approach to cost-saving, the mansion’s garage housed chickens, and the first lady even sold eggs to augment the family’s income.
By 1960, it became clear that the mansion no longer met the functional needs of the state’s governors. A new residence was constructed, and the former mansion was slated for demolition. However, thanks to the efforts of preservationists, the building was saved and later transformed into a state historic site. Today, visitors can tour the mansion and its grounds, gaining insights into North Dakota’s rich political and cultural past. Here’s an interesting article about Super Slide Amusement Park.