The Ballroom was used for governors’ inaugural balls during the early 1900s, but with the growth in our state’s population, this has become impossible. Governor Hays’ Inaugural Ball guests numbered 100. Recent inaugural balls have been held in the Capitol building rotunda with up to 4,500 guests in attendance.
The chandeliers were installed when the mansion was built. They are made of Czechoslovakian crystal.
Glass panes in the French doors and windows are the original glass from 1900. The glass was hand-rolled and, therefore, irregular. The glass was made in the Olympia area. The room also holds a Chippendale mirror dating to the 1780s.
Paintings of George and Martha Washington were done in 1840 and 1880. The artist is unknown. These paintings are painted on glass from the back.
The Dining Room
The State Dining Room furniture was purchased from Frederick & Nelson in 1909, and is original to the mansion.
The 26 ornately-trimmed sterling silver pieces in this and other rooms are from the U.S.F.S. Olympia—Admiral Dewey’s flagship during the Spanish American War of 1898. Given to the U.S.F.S. Olympia by the people of the State of Washington, it was returned to the state in 1930 long after the warship was decommissioned. One piece of the silver was gifted to the U.S.S. Olympia submarine by Governor and Mrs. John Spellman as a token of friendship.
A Spokane artist who now lives in San Francisco created the wall murals. The oil painting on canvas represents the artist’s idea of Washington in early territory time.
The oldest piece in this room is the English, black-painted, caneback sofa, circa 1795.
The piano (not shown in this photo) is a five-octave, tabletop model—the first piano style made after the clavichord. The piano was built around 1815.
The clock and cassoulets are French, the crystal candlesticks are English and the George Washington painting is American.
The Great Hall (Foyer) has reproductions of smoke bell fixtures. Small plates on top, called smoke shields, protect the ceiling from candle smoke. On either side of the door are French Empire pier tables. Chas Lannuier, it is said, built 50 of them. Several stand in the White House. The grandfather clock at the top of the stairs was purchased from Fredrick and Nelson in 1909 by Mrs. Hays. It keeps perfect time and is one of the few original furnishings left in the mansion.
The Library is one of the most charming of the public rooms. The books belong to the State Library. Most of them have been donated to the Mansion by interested citizens. The Library features books by Washington authors and works pertinent to the state.
The pictures on the walls are of Palouse Falls and the Dalles area of the Columbia River Gorge. Both are recent acquisitions by the Foundation and are colored engravings.
Note the guest books. Those on the wall record all visitors since the house was built. The open books on the table include the name of President Harry Truman, who stayed overnight in the Mansion in 1945. Truman visited again in 1948 with his wife, Bess and daughter, Margaret. Their names are also recorded in the book.
Outside the Residence
A view of the Legislative Building from outside the Executive Mansion.
The Vestibule has a beautiful inlaid State Seal. This seal was donated by the Talcott family of Olympia. Jeweler Charles Talcott designed the state seal in 1889, using an ink bottle, silver dollar, and a postage stamp.
The Washington Governor’s Mansion is located west of the Legislative Building, overlooking Capitol Lake, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The Georgian-style mansion is the oldest building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
In 1908, the mansion was built, in part, as a temporary, official state house for greeting important visitors on their way to the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition in Seattle. The Tacoma architectural firm Russell and Babcock designed and supervised construction of the residence at a cost of $35,000.
In March 1909, when Governor Samuel Cosgrove died shortly after taking office, Lieutenant Governor Marion E. Hay and his family became the first occupants of the mansion.