The Governor's Office with the Wye Oak Desk
Over the years, the layout of the office of governor has changed, but it has always been associated with the spaces surrounding what is now called the Governor's Reception Room. The history of the rooms themselves date 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 (Governor's Reception Room) was then the Council Chamber, home to Governor and Council, the state's executive body. The present governor's office served as a repository for stores and arms, while the middle room was a jury room for the Court of Appeals. Between 1827 and 1835, the present governor's office was used to house the state library.
Passage of the Constitutional amendments of 1838 sparked a reorganization of the executive by replacing the Governor and Council with a popularly-elected governor and the office of the 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. An 1861 House of Delegates order "to repair and fit up an Executive Office, adjoining the Executive Chamber in the State House" caused the former jury room to be set up as a private office of the governor. This marked the first time that a separate space was set aside for the use of the governor in the State House. Between 1835 and 1905 the adjutant general occupied the office presently used by the governor.
Although the State House was enlarged and completely refurnished in 1905, the arrangement of the executive side of the 1772 State House remained unchanged. Offices of the adjutant general and secretary of state were relocated to the opposite side now used by the lieutenant governor. The relocation of the adjutant general allowed the governor to move his office to a less public space where it is now located. The center room became the office of the governor's private secretary, while the larger corner room remained the Governor's Reception Room, essentially the same arrangement used today.
Having been occupied by the same department since 1838, the rooms comprising the governor's suite of offices represent the longest period of uninterrupted use of space in the history of the State House.