(HELENA) Montana’s Original Governor’s Mansion was built in 1888 by William Chessman. It was not originally a home for the governor, rather for the Chessman family.
“This space on the 3rd floor is one of the spaces used by Mrs. Chessman,” explains Maggie Ordon, curator of history. “She would gather with her friends to paint China as a social activity.”
Work was recently completed on that third-floor room to bring it back to something that more closely resembles its original period.
Unlike other rooms, there were no definitive clues to work with – so they used what they had.
“We did have some oral histories with the Stewart girls who remembered playing and being on this floor, and they remembered a red and yellow papered pattern,” says Ordon.
The Stewart girls that Maggie Ordon refers to are the daughters of Montana Governor Sam Stewart, the first governor to live in the mansion.
The Original Governor’s Mansion Restoration Society is the group responsible for helping preserve its legacy.
“The historical society does not receive any money from the legislature for restoration projects at the mansion, inside the mansion,” says Society Board Chair Sandy Matule. “Funding is received for the outside projects.”
Events such as the recent Ghost Tour and the upcoming Holiday Home Tour help raise money to care for, improve and maintain the home, all helping place the mansion’s visitors back in time.
“The Original Governor’s Mansion Restoration Society is key to making the mansion come alive for visitors,” says Ordon. “So without their support, this wouldn’t be the warm, inviting place that it is.”
Click here to learn more about Montana’s Original Governor’s Mansion or the upcoming Holiday Home Tour:
Reporter: Melissa Jensen