Governor's Mansion almost ready for visitors - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Governor's Mansion almost ready for visitors

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A year of work is nearly finished on the Illinois Governor's mansion.

The original home was finished in 1855 and is marketed as the third oldest such residence in America.

At 49,000 square feet, it's believed to be the largest governor's residence in the country.

And for a year now, it's been busy.

The finishing touches - like copper roof pieces - are being put into place a massive, $15 million dollar face lift.

This is the third big change for the Springfield home, with the other major renovations in 1900 and 1972.

"And so a lot of the repairs they did with the money they had. But they didn't hold up," said Laura Hochuli, project architect.

Private fund-raising came through to get the project underway.

"I think there's been more demolition involved than there has been put back  All the windows have been replaced in the mansion," said John Goetz, general contractor with RD Lawrence Construction Co. 

The mansion will now be fully accessible to the disabled.
    

You'll find a new visitor center and a full kitchen in the private quarters.

The library will retain the signature black walnut paneling.

"We started in the middle of May and we're supposed to be done in the middle of May. We're pretty confident the house should be more than ready," Goetz said.

The house will hold 80 pieces of fine art, including this mural, a picturesque history of the U.S. that staffers say is worth $200,000

The governor's mansion will reopen to the public July 14.

Goetz went on to say it's possible the landscaping won't be quite finished outside in May, given our bizarre, cold spring weather,


    

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