“The Governor and I are thrilled to offer additional tour dates for the Governor’s Residence during the month of December,” said First Lady Karen Pence. “This season, we encourage all Hoosiers to consider visiting the Residence and hope they will leave inspired to spread the holiday spirit to others around our state.”
The Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association will donate two trees to the residence. Tours of the Governor’s Residence, available by advance reservation only, are typically offered on Tuesdays and last about an hour. Hoosiers interested in touring the residence now choose from Dec. 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 and should complete a tour reservation form available here.
All tours are available at either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.
There have been six official residences for Indiana’s chief executive, only five occupied by a Hoosier governor. Indiana’s first Governor’s Residence was located in Corydon, – the first state capital. It served as a home to Governor Jonathan Jennings and his wife, Ann, from 1816 until 1822.
In 1821, Alexander Ralston decided the new Governor’s Residence should be placed near the center of the city, now known as Monument Circle. This residence was completed in 1827. Believing the home was too much in the public eye, Gov. James Brown Ray’s wife, Ester, refused to live there. Subsequently, a first family never occupied the mansion. The house was auctioned off in 1857 for $667 and torn down. In the years between 1827 and 1837, the governors selected their own place to live.
In 1837, the state legislature purchased the one-year-old home of Dr. John Sanders and christened it the new Governor’s Residence, on the northwest corner of Illinois and Market Streets. However, the residence at Market and Illinois proved to be damp and unhealthy, according to Gov. Wallace. Gov. Whitcomb blamed it for his wife’s death, and Gov. Morton, after a short stay, refused to live in it. The structure was sold in 1865 and eventually destroyed.
The next official residence was located at 101 E. 27th St., from 1919 until 1945. This Governor’s Residence was purchased by the city in 1916 and was presented to the state in 1919 as a home for governors. The property stretched down Fall Creek and was near the Meridian Street Bridge. The homes proximity to Fall Creek Boulevard eventually caused problems. The Mariott Hotel, located adjacent to the house, bought the property in 1930 for $86,000 and demolished the mansion in 1962.
A new Governor’s Residence had already been established in 1945 at 4343 N. Meridian St. The structure remained a home to Hoosier governors until 1973. It was sold at a public auction in 1973 to Robert L. Dawson, son of the former lieutenant governor.
In the two years following, two governors, Edgar Whitcomb and Otis Bowen, lived in Riley Towers at 200 N. Alabama St., where the state leased two twin penthouse apartments.
The sixth official Governor’s Residence, but the fifth to be lived in, is the structure at 4750 N. Meridian St. It has served families of Governors’ Otis R. Bowen, Robert D. Orr, Evan Bayh, Frank O’Bannon, Joseph Kernan, Mitch Daniels, and currently Governor Mike Pence.
An English Tudor home, it was acquired in 1973. However, despite similarities architecturally to other North Meridian residences, it is structurally unique – the concrete reinforcement of the entire building, including its attic floors.
Approximately, 10,000 people visit the Governor’s Residence each year. Receptions and tours are given on an as available basis.