The Governor's Mansion of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
was originally built in 1914 and was patterned after the Petit
Trianon, an eighteenth century palace in Versailles, France. The
exterior is finished in the regional limestone known as "Kentucky
The New Governor's Mansion
The Executive Mansion is situated on the east lawn of the State Capitol grounds on a bluff high above the Kentucky River in Frankfort. It was designed by Kentuckians C.C. and E.A. Weber of Fort Thomas, in 1912. The exterior was molded after the Petit Trianon, Queen Marie Antoinette's villa near the Palace of Versailles in France. The design of the Governor's Mansion was a product of its time -- the post Civil War Gilded Age of "conspicuous consumption." The building reflects the grand spirit of people who had not yet experienced a severe economic depression or a world war.
When Governor John Y. Brown Jr. took office in late 1979, the building in its 65 year reign had never undergone a major renovation. The Brown's had only been in the mansion a month when the State Fire Marshal declared the building a fire trap. Despite a nearly constant onslaught of redecorations, the interior spaces had never been reconciled with the architecture of the building. Phyllis George Brown decided to turn the proposed fire code emergency into a major renovation. Mrs. Brown and a group of friends formed a non-profit organization, Save the Mansion, Inc. to raise funds for the larger project. Fund raising began in earnest in the Spring of 1980.
Several historians were involved in the project including William Seal, William Floyd, Jason Fenwick, and Charles Phillips. Construction began on the project in the early Fall of 1982 and was completed in the late Spring of 1983.
The complete details of the restoration are documented in the book The Kentucky Governor's Mansion, A Restoration published by Harmony House of Louisville in 1984.
The Old Governor's Mansion
Kentucky did not have an official governor's residence until the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated funds to provide houses to accommodate the governor in 1796. Construction was completed in 1798. The Old Governor's Mansion is reputed to be the oldest official executive residence still in use in the United States. Barely surviving fires and neglect, the house has undergone several style changes as evidenced by some Victorian design elements that were added.
For more information please visit The Kentucky Division of Historic Properties.