Original laws appropriated funds to repair the mansion every two years, but major repairs have often proved.necessary. In 1889, Governor Joseph Fifer approved $13,500 to remodel the Executive Mansion and redesign it in accordance with the Victorian style, In 1917, another renovation included a transition from Victorian style to an Italianate style, the cost ($50,000) of which was split between the State and Governor Lowden and his wife
A fire in 1961 led to a movement to replace the mansion with something more modern. However, historical preservationists along with many former governors helped save the building, which led to its restoration and protection as an historic site. More renovations occurred during the 1970s and, just recently, private funding believed to amount nearly $15 million dollars was raised to provide the mansion with its biggest renovation and restoration to date.
The governor's residence is limited to a seven-room apartment upstairs while the downstairs exists as a historical site, retaining its nineteenth-century look. One recent governor, Rob Blagojevich refused to live there, instead choosing to work remotely from the Chicago area. However, he, along with four other governors, have been convicted of federal crimes and/or found to have cheated the state.
- Len Small, 26th governor, was found to have defrauded the state of a million dollars.
- Otto Kerner, Jr., 33rd Governor (1961 to 1968) was convicted on 17 counts of mail fraud, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
- Dan Walker, 36th Governor of Illinois (1973 to 1977), pleaded guilty in 1987 to bank fraud and perjury (all occurring after he left office). He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
- George Ryan, 39th Governor of Illinois (1999 to 2003), was found guilty of fraud and racketeering charges. He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
- Rod Blagojevich, 40th Governor of Illinois (2003 to 2009), was found guilty of 18 counts of corruption, including attempting to sell or trade an appointment to fill newly elected President Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Though Illinois politics has also enjoyed many stories deemed corrupt. the residence remains intact within the Capital City that owes its existence, and fame, to its most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln.