Governor's Mansion

Montana’s Original Governor’s Mansion was built as a private residence for the William Chessman family in 1888, and was home to the Peter Larson family and the Harfield Conrad family before the state purchased it (along with much of the Conrads’ furnishings) in 1913. Until 1959, it served as the official residence of Montana’s governors, their families, and service staffs. Over the following decade it sometimes sat empty and sometimes held state offices, its interior subdivided with temporary walls. A citizen group initiated restoration in 1969, and returned the building to state control in 1980. Today it appears much as it did in 1913, when Governor Samuel V. Stewart, his wife, and three young daughters moved in. Architects of the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse and many Helena homes, Hodgson, Stem and Welter designed this Queen Anne style structure, which is characterized by a fanciful, irregular outline filled with gables, turrets chimneys, balconies, and dormers. The style is one of several romantic, nostalgic modes popular at the time America moved into industrialization and mass production. Although its ground floor rooms served the public at official functions, the upper floors were very much a family home. As Governor Stewart’s executive secretary wrote, “It is a home of democracy … an American home—a plain American home, if you please—like thousands of homes in this country.”

Images

Original Governor's Mansion Helena, Montana

Original Governor's Mansion Helena, Montana

[Original Governor's Mansion,view from north side, ca. 1913]. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT | Creator: Unidentified photographer View File Details Page

Governor's Mansion, front

Governor's Mansion, front

East elevation of the first Governor's mansion in Helena. OGM photo collection | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer Unidentified View File Details Page

Governor's mansion, detail

Governor's mansion, detail

East elevation of the first governor's mansion in Helena, detail of entrance. OGM Collection. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer Unidentified View File Details Page

Governor's mansion, entry

Governor's mansion, entry

Entrance to the carriage house of the first Governor's mansion in Helena. OGM collection. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer unidentified View File Details Page

Governor's mansion, porch

Governor's mansion, porch

Front porch of the first governor's mansion in Helena. View to the south. OGM Collection. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer unidentified View File Details Page

Governor's mansion, porch

Governor's mansion, porch

Front porch with furniture of the first governor's mansion in Helena. OGM collection. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer Unidentified View File Details Page

Governor's mansion, detail

Governor's mansion, detail

Front porch of the first governor's mansion in Helena. View to the north. OGM Collection. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Photographer unidentified View File Details Page

Audio

A Worm in the Bath

Audio recording about the remembrances of life in the Montana governor's mansion through the eyes of children. Prepared and recorded by Montana Historical Society staff member Ellen Baumler. Presented on the Soundcloud channel "Montana History on the Go" 2015. | Source: Montana History on the Go | Creator: Baumler, Ellen View File Details Page

Access Information:

public

Street Address:

Sixth Avenue and Ewing Street, Helena, Montana [map]

Cite this Page:

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Governor's Mansion ,” Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places, accessed July 23, 2017, http://explorebig.org/items/show/805.

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