Construction and Renovation

Late 1911 Governor Augustus E. Wilson advised the State Legislature that the new Capitol Building necessitated the construction of a new Governor's Mansion.
February 7, 1912 $75,000 is appropriated by the State Legislature to finance the purchase of land and construct a new Governor's Mansion. The act specified that the new mansion should be "constructed, trimmed and finished with native stone produced from quarries in Kentucky."
February 22, 1912 The Sinking Fund Commission, the group responsible for the planning and construction of the new Governor's residence, meets for the first time. Commission members included Governor James. B. McCreary and other current Constitutional Officers.
Early 1912 Four Kentucky architectural firms submit bids to design and oversee construction of the new Mansion. The Weber brothers of Fort Thomas were chosen. A location to construct the building had not yet been decided.
March 26, 1912 All of the land necessary for the Mansion's construction was purchased and deeded in the Franklin County Clerk's office.
April 21, 1912 Final drawings are presented to the Commission and approved. Advertisements were directed to be published soliciting bids from local building contractors.
May 7, 1912 Samuel Price is employed as an assistant superintendent of construction. The planned conservatory on the north side of the Mansion was replaced with a large ballroom.
June 1, 1912 All submitted bids were deemed too high and after a major reexamination of the plans, new bids were opened. The Capital Lumber and Manufacturing Company of Frankfort submitted the lowest acceptable bid and was awarded the contract for $62,945.
June 29, 1912 The construction contract is drafted and signed while materials were already being moved onto the construction property.
July 25, 1912 Ground is broken on the new Governor's Mansion. Several problems arose during construction including water and sewage system issues, fire safety concerns that necessitated the use of stone instead of wood in some of the interior walls. There were unexpected delays in the delivery of the Bowling Green stone as well.
Late 1912 through early 1914 Constant changes in construction and decoration plans were made. Discussions concerning the front gardens took place. It was decided to bring much of the furnishings, the kitchen range, cooking utensils and bed furnishings from the Old Mansion into the New Mansion to reduce costs.
January 10, 1914 William Wiard is paid $94.50 to purchase a one horse wagon and move the items from the Old Mansion to the new one and $17.50 for cleaning debris from the old. $462.50 was paid for the Governor's backyard stable and carriage shed.
Mid January 1914 Governor James. B. McCreary moves into the New Governor's Mansion even though the grounds were bare and the residence itself was only sufficiently completed with many minor unfinished areas in the house.
Mid January 1914 Superintendent of construction Thomas R. Wiard submits a detailed report to the Commission recommending that the contractors be paid and released. Governor McCreary sends a message to the Kentucky General Assembly saying he believes they will be pleased with the finished (actually nearly finished) residence and proclaims it will serve its purpose for more than a hundred years. Actual costs to date had run more than $19,000 over original estimates of $75,000 to finally tally at $94,902.40. Subsequent additions to the heating facility, additional lighting, furnishings and sanitary facilities were not included in that sum.
January 20, 1914 A formal reception was held at the new Mansion with invitations sent to selected citizens to come to Frankfort to view the new home for the state's Governors.
March 11, 1914 Governor McCreary hosts a special reception for members of the General Assembly.
1947 Several lots in the northwest quadrant of the Mansion grounds were purchased for $10,750. Governor Earle C. Clements negotiated the purchase.
1982 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 redecorating, 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 nonprofit 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 Seale, 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.
2007 Soon after Governor Ernie Fletcher and First Lady Glenna Fletcher moved into the Governor's Mansion they realized it was time again to treat the house to a major renovation effort. The plaster and the paint that was applied during the earlier 1980s renovation was peeling and falling away from the walls. Mrs. Fletcher formed the Governor's Mansion Preservation Foundation to raise funds for the project. Money was appropriated by the state to replace the outdated heating and cooling system as well as all of the exterior windows and doors. The foundation focused on the Mansion's interior. Plaster was repaired or replaced, the walls were stripped and painted, the hardwood floors were restored, new window treatments, rugs and carpets were purchased, furniture was restored and reupholstered, and new pieces or art and silver were acquired. In addition to the interior and infrastructure work inside the Mansion, the rear terrace was completely remodeled and rebuilt. The project was completed in December of 2007.
Construction and Renovation