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The governor's residence, then and now

The governor's residence has gone through plenty of changes over the years, both stylistically and functionally to suit the needs of different governors. Here, a look at how the residence has evolved over the last five decades. All photos courtesy of the state of Minnesota.

Foyer

The entrance to the governor's home is the most decorative, and for good reason. The foyer and grand staircase is where the governor entertains guests and dignitaries. The original owners of the home bleached the wood in 1949 to the more fashionable blonde color, but in 1996, then-Gov. Arne Carlson had the wood restored to its natural dark color.

Drawing room

Filled with some of the oldest furniture in the home, the drawing room is used for both formal meetings and entertaining. During the 2015 legislative session, it was used as a break room for different parties as they negotiated the state budget.

Dining room

Despite the grandeur of the residence, the dining room table is comparatively small, holding only about 16 to 18 guests. It's where Gretchen Quie once hosted dinners for members of the public with the first family. The 1970s dining room had more modern, streamlined furniture, as was the style, but new furnishings were added as the home was restored.

Library

Governors have utilized the library in different ways over the years. Some used it as a home office, while Gov. Arne Carlson liked to hold press conferences there.

Solarium

One of just a few spaces in the home with a lot of natural light, the solarium was a favorite space of the Irvine Family and was doubled in size in 1922. Today, it's the most-used space for entertaining, with capacity to hold up to 40 guests. In the summer, the doors can be opened onto the terrace to provide even more space. The original homeowner, Olivia Dodge, was an avid collector of Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorabilia, and once had a meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt in the room.

East porch

The east porch features a red Spanish tile floor and a beam-and-panel ceiling, and the light fixtures are early 20th century wrought iron.

Comments (2)

Most famous guests

Seeing these pictures reminded me of June 3, 1990, when Rudy and Lola Perpich hosted Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev for lunch at the mansion. They must have put a few extra eaves in that dining room table because the party was quite large, including Alexander Bessmertnikh, the Soviet ambassador to the US, Jack Matlock, the US ambassador to the USSR, various Soviet and US officials, including a then unknown Condoleezza Rice, and some corporate types. They were served a "Midwestern" gourmet meal (walleye, morels, wild rice) financed by Pillsbury and General Mills. It was a day of friendship, and most of all, of hope.

Great furniture!

Way more 'drapey' back then... I wonder what it will look like in 50 years!