Friday, December 17, 2010

Invited to the Governor's Mansion!

The Utah's Governor's mansion, right there on South Temple Street, just a bit up the way from work...
I got invited to visit!

It was kind of our governor to extend such a lovely invitation to visit during the holiday season to see the historic mansion decked out in Christmas finery.

Governor Herbert and his wife reside on the second floor; I only got to see the first floor.
( and anyone else in the world who wanted to drop by between 2 and 5 pm on Dec. 16th that is.)
I was only a tad disappointed to learn that I would not be invited to see the second floor AND perhaps even more disappointed to learn that the third floor ball room would also not be available for my perusal.
Nor would anything inside be available for photographing.
(To see inside, click HERE)

The mansion was built in 1903 by Thomas Kearns.  He was born in Canada, then moved to Nebraska before finally coming to Salt Lake City. He worked as a miner, learned to read and figure, dug into geology books and struck silver, big time.
My favorite detail: Upon hitting the silver vein up in the Park City mountains, he then RAN back to Park City where the girl he favored was attending a dance.  He cut in on her dance partner and proposed marriage. 
She accepted!
The house they built cost close to $400,000 back then. They also gave a lot of money to the Catholic church and children's charities.
Eventually the mansion was giving to the State of Utah to be used as a Governor's mansion.
Today the mansion is heavily used for official events, including the ball room.
(I am trying to figure out what I would need to do to be invited to see the ball room. I am even willing to don a formal gown and heels if that would do the trick...)

I really hadn't paid much attention to the building until just the other day.  It was all lit up so nicely in the dark, and there was a blurb in the paper about tours being available.
I asked Bernie if he was game to go see what there was to see, for free...and he said yes.
The "tour" actually was a walk through the entry hall, living area, formal dining, library, kitchen and butler's pantry and informal dining room.
The hand carved woodwork was amazing, as was the plaster detailing on the ceiling. It looked like cake decorating and actually was created by hand using plaster and glue and a small trowel.

It is so nice to have a photographer along to record these sort of visits to the homes of elected officials.

Just a peek could be seen from the outside of the turquoise themed Christmas tree on the inside in the living room.

I can never figure out why the perspective is so weird on flag poles when shooting up...
But you can get a better feeling for the work on the upper floors of the building.

I don't know why the Kearns decided this rather grim looking person should adorn the outside of the house.

Or why TWO of them were placed, for heaven sakes.
Kearns wound up being a Utah State Senator, and a personal friend of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt actually stayed at the mansion to visit his old friend once.

A beautiful chandelier made of sterling silver can also be seen from outside.
The tour included having several ladies inside who pointed out details about each room and gave a little bit of history about the house.
I was told it was a very brief tour; that in summer the house is also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a more detailed tour with more information about the Kearns and the house.
The grounds would also have the rose garden and other features at their best at that time.
Something to look forward to...
From the big mansion Bernie and I returned to our little mansion.
Packed our bags and headed up into the hills.
I wish I could say that we too would find a silver streak up there, but instead we will be staying at the Downtown Park City Marriott resort, where it is below freezing and snow is expected on Saturday.
Our timeshare has a cozy fire, a big TV, hot tubs and great restaurants.
It is our anniversary weekend...
Kisses and snuggles galore.
More later.
Have a great weekend yourself!


Vicki said...

Awww, happy anniversary, Jill and Bernie! Your weekend in PC sounds wonderful!

Those two "characters" on the upper facade are interesting. The one on the right is gripping a cloth bag...perhaps containing silver?

Too bad you couldn't see the private floors. Perhaps one day you'll snag an invite to a ball in the mansion!

ellen b. said...

Oh how wonderful that you are headed out for your anniversary. Enjoy! The mansion really has great architecture. I always wonder why they don't let you photograph in these buildings when even the National Gallery lets you...

Sara said...

Happy Anniversary Jill and Bernie!

Thanks for the mansion tour...something to put on my list for a springtime visit! Love your outfit, and the hat.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

How lovely to take us along on your mansion tour! Sorry they didn't unlock all the doors for you though.

Happy anniversary!