CONSERVING AND INTERPRETING THE HISTORY
OF CALIFORNIA AND ITS GOVERNORS
HISTORY OF THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION
Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park is the location of the Historic Governor’s Mansion of California. It housed 13 governors and their families from 1903 to 1967. In 2015, California’s 39th Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. became it’s 14th resident. This magnificent structure is located at the corner of 16th and H Streets in Sacramento and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Governor’s Mansion was originally built in 1877 for Albert Gallatin, a partner in the Sacramento hardware store of Huntington & Hopkins. Uriah Reese built the house and Nathaniel Goodell was the architect. In 1887, Gallatin sold the house to Joseph Steffens, a local businessman.
The State of California purchased the house from Steffens in 1903 for $32,500. Victorian architecture was then already somewhat out of style, but the house was suitably impressive, conveniently located at the time and comfortable. The total cost was $56,000 after a small wing was added to the house as a Governor’s office and the home was furnished.
Governor George Pardee and his family were the first residents of the “new” Governor’s Mansion. The Mansion was home to the families of 13 Governors, including Earl Warren who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and Ronald Reagan, who later became President.
The grounds, dating back to 1877, along with a swimming pool, presented as a gift to Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. in 1959 are still visible today to passers by on 16th Street.
Governor Jerry Brown’s renovations in 2015 marked the beginning of another chapter in the history of the governor’s mansion. With the mansion on the State Parks closure list in 2013, the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park Foundation raised the funds to keep this historic building open to the public. The Foundation also coordinated in-kind donations for an environmentally friendly irrigation system and for the first time an outdoor LED lighting system that makes the filigreed Victorian look like it’s been hit with moon glow.