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Governor's Mansion Centennial

Family FAQs

Does the Governor actually live in the Governor's Mansion?
Yes he does. The top two floors are considered the Governor's private residence and are not open to the general public.

Does the Governor and the Governor's family get to live in the Mansion for free?
Anyone who lives in the Governor's Mansion must pay a fee to compensate the state for food and services. This includes the Governor and the Governor's family.

Who is the most famous person to ever visit the Governor's Mansion?
Several celebrities and dignitaries have visited the Governor's Mansion throughout its history. However, people from all walks of life are encouraged to visit the Mansion that is considered the People's House.

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Life in the Governor’s Mansion

Besides being home to Kentucky's Governor, the Mansion also plays host to a variety of events and functions from concerts to ballet performances, plays and skits, lectures and speeches. It is not completely uncommon to hear the sounds of instruments being tuned, then played in the Mansion's Ballroom or the Governor's Reception Room when it is transformed into a small musical parlor.

Some of Kentucky's most well known and celebrated names in the arts and entertainment have performed in or visited the Mansion as well. For several years the very popular, In Performance at the Governor's Mansion was recorded for public television in the Mansion's Ballroom, showcasing the talents of artists such as Rosemary Clooney, Jean Ritchie, Lionel Hampton and the Governor's School for the Arts among others. The Mansion was also featured on A&E Television's America's Castles series.

Several of Kentucky's most notable annual events including the Governor's Derby celebration and the state employee's holiday open house are held at the Mansion each year as well.

Because the city of Frankfort has always welcomed each first family with open arms, it is the pleasure of the Governor and First Lady to welcome its citizens to the Mansion for several community events such as the newly established annual Easter Egg Roll, trick-or-treat night on Halloween, a variety of Christmas and holiday celebrations and other special events. The Mansion sometimes serves as the backdrop for press conferences and other media events that include the Governor and First Lady. Of course, the Mansion is open for public tours every Tuesday and Thursday year round.

The Mansion’s Residents

Twenty-six Governor's have lived in the "new" Governor's Mansion. Each one of them has left their own mark or piece of history within the Bowling Green Limestone walls. Some have appreciated the opportunity to live in the house while others found it a burden as they've served their respective terms and left their own legacies.

It is usually assumed that the Governor's spouse will serve as the "official" hostess of events at the Governor's Mansion. Some spouses took the "job" and its obligations as their mandated task. Others simply tried to make the stately and very public house a private home for their families.

Governor McCreary's wife had died before he could move into Kentucky's new home for its Governors. So his granddaughter served as the Mansion's first official hostess. Governor Collins was Kentucky's first female Governor. So she served not only as the state's Chief Executive, but also as the hostess of the state's house. Her husband, Dr. Bill Collins, continued to work as a dentist.

To view portraits of the Kentucky Governors, visit the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center.

Did you know...?

It was actually Governor Augustus E. Wilson in 1911 who advised the State Legislature there was a need for a new Governor's Mansion. Although it was his idea, he would never live in the house.

Governor James. B. McCreary was the very first Governor to occupy the Governor's Mansion and he had a major influence over its construction and design.

Governor James. D. Black lived in the Governor's Mansion for only seven months - the shortest of any Governor.

Governor Edwin P. Morrow was the first Republican to live in the Governor's Mansion and the first governor to complete a full four year term while living in the Mansion.

In 1947 Governor Earle C. Clements expanded the Mansion's grounds by negotiating the purchase of several lots in the northwest quadrant of the property.

Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. and First Lady Phyllis George Brown initiated the last major renovation of the Mansion in the early 1980s.

Governor Martha Layne Collins was the first and only female governor to live in the Governor's Mansion.

Life in the Governor’s Mansion