West Virginia State Capitol Complex Walking Tour

West Virginia Governor's Mansion

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)

Overview Listen

The West Virginia Governor's Mansion symbolizes the state's distinguished past and present. The Georgian Revival mansion, completed in 1925 at a cost $200,000, was designed by Walter Martens, a Charleston architect who designed several other buildings on Charleston's East End. The Georgian Revival-style home has welcomed national and global dignitaries, ambassadors, public officials, and hosted numerous events to encourage business, support education, and promote the preservation of West Virginia history and culture.


Photo The West Virginia Governor's Mansion
Photo The main level of the West Virginia Governor's Mansion

Backstory Listen

In 1893, when Governor A.B. Fleming was leaving office, he requested that the Legislature appropriate funds for the purchase of a state-owned Governor's Mansion. The legislature responded by providing $22,000 for the next Governor, William MacCorkle, to buy and furnish a residence. Maccorkle purchased a stately frame dwelling situated across from the state capitol building which at that time was located downtown on Capitol Street in Charleston. Before Governor William MacCorkle, governors paid for their own housing expenses while living in the capital city.

After the Capitol burned in 1921, the Legislature passed a sales tax to provide revenues for the construction of a new Capitol. The tax also included an appropriation of $100,000 for the construction of a new Governor's Mansion. Governor Ephraim Morgan selected Walter Martens, a Charleston architect, for the project. Martens consulted with Cass Gilbert, who was the architect of the state capitol. Governor Morgan and his wife moved into the new mansion in 1925 with one week left in his term. When completed, the mansion was reported to cost about $200,000-twice the amount originally planned. 

The home was constructed in red Harvard brick and the front facade and entrance are supported by Corinthian columns. The rear of the home has a single-story entrance. Both sides of the structure have porches that support second-floor balconies. The porch on the East side of the home is open, and the porch on the West side of the home is closed. The grounds of the home has a garden and garage. Servant quarters were built over the garage in 1926.

The interior of the home features checkered black and white marble flooring in the entryway, which was inspired by design within the White House. The main level is fitted with a drawing room, ballroom, state dining room, sitting room, and library. The home has eight bedrooms and four bathrooms, and the governor's quarters are on the second floor. 

1716 Kanawha Blvd E
Charleston, WV 25305

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Tour time is decided upon the approval of a tour request. Maximum of 50 guests per visit, parties of over 50 will result in consecutive tour times. Adults must show photo ID. Bags are subject to search. Mansion tours may be cancelled at any time.

West Virginia Executive Mansion. West Virginia Legislature. Accessed June 08, 2019. http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Educational/Capitol_History/pg8.cfm.

Damron, Bob "Governor’s Mansion." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 February 2012. Web. 08 June 2019. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/2137

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