About the Governor’s Mansion

Twenty-five Kentucky Governors have lived in the house that now sits at 704 Capitol Avenue in Frankfort, Kentucky. Since 1914 when the doors to the "new" Mansion were officially opened for the first time, celebrities, dignitaries and many who would be considered common have visited the "People's House" on a regular basis.

Gov. McCrearyGovernor McCreary with the
Mansion's first housekeeper,
Miss Jennie Shaw, in 1914.

If the walls could talk we would no doubt hear lots of exciting stories - stories that tell of family celebrations and personal heartaches, political deals that result in triumphant victories and bitter losses and of course, plenty of the kind of gossip that seems to thrive in a town that is loaded with high political ambitions.

When a new first family moves into the Governor's Mansion one of the first signs of community they experience is a knock on the door and a hearty welcome from the town's folk. Tradition suggests the welcoming party bring a silver tray of food to present to the newest members of the community as a welcoming gift. This happens even before the newly elected Governor is ceremonially sworn in.

There are other traditions related to the Governorship and the Governor's Mansion. It is customary for the outgoing Governor to invite the Governor-elect and his family to dinner at the Mansion shortly after the election and during the time of transition. There is also the tradition of the first spouses. This custom has the spouse of the retiring Governor leave for the spouse of the incoming Governor a platter of baked ham with beaten biscuits and a white cake on the dining room table.

Did you know...?

This is not Kentucky's first official Governor's residence. The Old Governor's Mansion, built in 1798, still stands in downtown Frankfort at 420 High Street.

Many of the herbs used for cooking in the Mansion's kitchen are grown in the Mansion's own greenhouses.

Governor James B. McCreary, the first Governor to live in the Mansion, was also the last Governor to ride in a horse-drawn carriage. The freshly constructed carriage house was quickly torn down to make way for a newer, more modern garage.