Executive Mansion historical marker

Executive Mansion (H-117)

Official residence, N.C. governors, it was completed 1891 on Burke Square using prison labor. Architects, A.G. Bauer & Samuel Sloan.

Location: North Blount Street in Raleigh
County: Wake
Original Date Cast: 2009

The Executive Mansion at 200 North Blount Street in Raleigh is the third official residence of the governor of North Carolina. From 1797 until 1816, a two-story frame house at the corner of Fayetteville and Hargett Streets housed the Chief Executive. Construction began in 1814 on a grand home at the end of Fayetteville Street which came to be called the Governor’s Palace. The Classical Revival style structure served the state’s chief executives until 1865. From the close of the Civil War until 1891, North Carolina’s governors had to rent a house or stay in one of the better hotels, such as the Yarborough House on Fayetteville Street.

William Christmas’s 1790 plan for Raleigh included a page on which he suggested that Burke Square would be “a proper situation for the Governor’s House.” Governor Thomas Jarvis appealed to the General Assembly for a suitable Governor’s Mansion on Burke Square in 1883 when he insisted that “it does not comport with the dignity of the State for the Governor to live in a hotel, where he is unable to dispense the hospitality incumbent upon him and due to the State, to say nothing of the personal inconvenience to himself.” While he had no expectation that the dwelling could be completed during his own term, he hoped that his successor might be provided with “a comfortable home, suitable to high office and creditable to the State.” The legislature was persuaded and in 1883 authorized the construction of a new governor’s residence on Burke Square.

Philadelphia architects Samuel Sloan and Adolphus Gustavus Bauer were selected to design the mansion. Prisoners at the nearby new state penitentiary provided much of the labor and thus, William J. Hicks, warden and architect of the prison, is credited with overseeing the mansion’s construction. Many of the bricks in the sidewalk surrounding the property bear signatures of the prisoners who made them. The building was completed in 1891 at a cost of $58, 843.01. Governor Daniel G. Fowle moved in before all the work was finished and lived just two months in the mansion before dying of a heart attack.

A magnificent example of the Queen Anne Cottage style of Victorian architecture, the Mansion is noted for its turrets, porches, multicolored slate roof, and elaborate woodwork. Renovations over the years have included the addition of a private kitchen, breakfast room, and necessary updates to the building’s systems.

William Bushong, North Carolina’s Executive Mansion (1991)
State Capitol/Executive Mansion website: https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/n-c-state-capitol/north-carolina…
William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)

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