Governor’s Residence turns 100; six summer tours scheduled

The historic Governor’s mansion on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue — or the Governor’s Residence, as the state prefers to call it — is 100 years old this year.

And there will be six public tours this summer:  June 5 and 19, July 10 and 24, and Aug. 7 and 21. All are on Tuesday mornings.

Space on each 20-minute tour is limited , so reservations are necessary.

A nonprofit organization, the 1006 Society, helps preserve the house through fundraisers.

The house was built as a private residence in 1912 for $50,000 by lumberman and lawyer Horace Hills Irvine. It was 14,000 square feet, with nine bedrooms and 10 bathrooms; it’s since been enlarged to 16,000 square feet.

The two youngest Irvine daughters, Clotilde and Olivia, donated the home to the state in 1965. Olivia, who died in 2009, also founded the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul.

Gov. Mark Dayton actually lives in the residence, but former Gov. Tim Pawlenty kept his house in Eagan and only used the Summit Avenue residence for ceremonial occasions.

When former Gov. Jesse Ventura was in office, there were reports of wild parties thrown by his adult son at the residence.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 1974 and on the St. Paul Historic Sites Register in July 1978.

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