Posted: Apr 4, 2013 11:03 AM by Evan Weborg - MTN News
Updated: Apr 4, 2013 11:04 AM
HELENA - More than a century ago, the original Governor's Mansion was first used as the official residence for the Montana's chief of state.
From the outside, it doesn't look a whole lot different from other older mansions in Helena, but when it when you step inside - that's where the 100 years of history begins.
The first one to call the mansion home was Governor Samuel Stewart.
Bobi Harris of the Montana Historical Society explained, "In the home there are about twenty rooms and seven of them are set up as bedrooms as the way the Stewart family used the home, but each of the nine governors had different needs in the house so it was able to fluctuate to serve each family the best."
On the first floor the place where everyone would meet is the kitchen which sits toward the back of the house.
"The Stewarts were very gracious hosts," Stewart said. "They had a very large family because Governor Stewart's brother and sister were often a visitor in the home and the girls' grandparents lived with them as well."
A quick trip up the stairs is where you will find a guest bedroom, and a closer look tells you that this isn't your average wallpaper.
"Donated to use is a scrap of the original silk on the wall, the Restoration Board paid for the renovation of this room and had the silk reprinted," Harris said.
All the way up on the third floor is the ballroom that was also used as a nursery for Governor Stewart's daughters, but the room had multiple uses.
Harris noted, "This originally was the ballroom of the house although Mister Chessman says that his father preferred having a billiard table up here and a card table room in the room next to this one."
So looking decades back, the original Governor's Mansion holds some of Montana's most treasured pieces from the nine different governors that called this mansion home.
To help celebrate the 100 year anniversary, the Restoration Society is hosting a celebration on April 13th.
Attendees are encouraged to dress up like it's 1913, but it's not just about tuxes and gowns.
Sandy Matule said, "They might come as a cowboy from 1913, a soldier, a miner, you know I think there were probably a lot of Chinese people who lived here, a priest, how a priest dressed in 1913 just to be very creative."
The event will be held at the Montana Club in Helena.
Tickets for the event are $25 and they can be purchased at Leslie's Hallmark or at the Montana Historical Society.
All proceeds from the event go toward preservation and restoration of the mansion.
For more information about the event, call 406-444-2694.
More information about the mansion is available at the MT Historical Society website, including this overview:
Entrepreneur William Chessman built the Mansion as a private residence in 1888.
The three-story Queen Anne-style structure was acquired by the State of Montana in 1913 to serve as its first official governor's residence.
The home then housed a succession of nine First Families until a new governor's residence was built in 1959.