The Governor's Reception Room

Governor's Reception Room

The history of the room now known as the Governor's Reception Room dates back to the original construction of the State House between 1772 and 1779. A floor plan published in 1789 in the Columbian Magazine indicates that the large corner room (the modern-day Governor's Reception Room) was then the Council Chamber, home to the Governor and Council, the state's executive body. Adjacent to this room was a jury room for the Court of Appeals and a repository for stores and arms.

The Constitutional amendments of 1838 sparked a reorganization of the executive branch by replacing the Governor and Council with a popularly-elected governor and the establishment of the office of secretary of state. The large corner room served as the public office of the governor, as well as the offices of the secretary of state and staff of the governor and the secretary of state. This room was referred to as the Executive Chamber until the 1860s, when it became known as the Governor's Reception Room. Because of the reorganization of the executive space, the governor may have set up a private office in the former jury room.

When the State House was enlarged and completely refurnished in 1905, the offices of the adjutant general and secretary of state were relocated to the side now used by the lieutenant governor. The Governor's Reception Room was used solely as the ceremonial public room of the executive department. To improve the appearance and to demonstrate the ceremonial function of this important space, Governor Edwin Warfield ordered the room be restored to its colonial appearance and that portraits of former governors and secretaries of state be displayed in the room.

It was at during the Warfield administration (1904-1908) that the Governor's Reception Room was first used for bill signings, the Old Senate Chamber having been used for bill signings since the completion of the State House in 1779. The use of the Governor's Reception Room for this additional function may have influenced Governor Phillips Lee Goldsborough's (1912-1916) decision to order the renovations and refurnishings of the executive spaces in 1914 and 1915. Under the direction of Governor Goldsborough, the Reception Room was furnished in a colonial revival style, and the 4' by 9' table now used for bill signings was purchased from The J.G. Valiant Co.

Governor's Reception Room Portraits

Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room

Hallway to Governor's Reception Room

Governor's Reception Room
Governor's Reception Room