Governor Rauner Moves Out of the Governor’s Mansion
If you're a Bruce Rauner fan, don't sweat it, and if you're not a fan at all, don't celebrate it. The reason for the Governor and Mrs. Rauner's departure has nothing to do with poll numbers or the current Springfield political climate.
The reason is that the Illinois Governor's Mansion is a fixer-upper, and right now, it's getting a much needed renovation.
From the Chicago Tribune:
The executive mansion has long been in disrepair and hasn't undergone a major overhaul since the early 1970s. A Tribune walk-through in 2015 revealed water stains, buckling wallpaper and a hole in the ceiling of a bedroom honoring a former governor — all housed in a crumbling exterior hidden by overgrown landscaping. The project, led by Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects, will include renovations to the exterior and interior, mechanical upgrades and improvements to the mansion grounds.
Governor Rauner's wife, Diana, has led the effort to renovate the Governor's Mansion with private funds. $14 million has been raised thus far, with $1 million coming from the Rauners themselves, according to Illinois Executive Mansion Association spokesman Max Bever.
The Executive Mansion, or Governor's mansion was built in 1855 at the request of newly-elected Governor Joel A. Matteson. According to the Executive Mansion's website:
Matteson asked the legislature to build a new executive residence large enough to host his family and state events. The General Assembly granted the governor’s request, appropriating $18,000 and hiring architect John M. Van Osdel, who had also designed Chicago’s City Hall and the Cook County Courthouse. Van Osdel designed the mansion to complement the Greco-Roman style of other government buildings. Despite the European influence, the mansion was distinctly Springfield due to the use of locally-sourced red pressed brick for the exterior. Governor Matteson became the first governor to live in the home on January 10, 1856. In 1871, Governor Oglesby signed legislation that made use of the mansion part of the governor’s compensation during his term.
Some of the famous and powerful who've spent time visiting the Illinois Executive mansion include:
President Ulysses S. Grant, President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William Sherman, President Lincoln’s son Robert, President William McKinley, President Herbert Hoover, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Annie Oakley. Shortly before his nomination as the Republican candidate for President in 1860, Abraham Lincoln came to the Mansion to visit and offer comfort to Governor William H. Bissell, who was on his deathbed.
Here's a tour of the mansion in case you've never visited. It's from 2009, but you'll see why the renovations are needed: