Sometimes you forget the charm of our Capitol City until you get out of the car downtown and look around. And some of the really interesting buildings are open for free tours.
The New Capitol, the Old Capitol and this, the Governor's Mansion. It is one of the dozen or so buildings that's still standing in Jackson that pre-dates the Civil War. As a matter of fact, all of the Who's Who of that war took a tour. Generals of both sides. Although we were a little lacking in hospitality by the time the Union Army made it to Jackson. All of the original furniture from the mansion had been removed by then and taken to Macon for safe keeping. And then, when the war ended and they went back to Macon to get it, evidently it hadn't been kept so safe, after all. It was all missing. But what's in the mansion now are still period pieces that have been collected since the end of the war and other pieces that have been donated by families of former governors. Governor McWillie's family haven given the largest batch. The docent sorts it all out for you when you take the tour. Lauren Miller is the Curator of the Governor's Mansion and says the 1841 structure is notable among other things, just for the longevity of its usage.
Lauren Miller: We're the 2nd oldest continually occupied Governor's Mansion. Second only to Virginia. And it's a wonderful architectural landmark and it represents wonderful history of the state of Mississippi.
Walt: In addition to all of the usual players of history who would have visited here in the old days, Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, all the governors, of course, more modern notables to spend the night here would include John Kennedy while he was still a Massachusetts Senator. He slept in the bed reported to have been given to Governor Bilbow.
Although the interior of the mansion has been spruced up many times since it was built, there is one place where the painted floor decorations from around the 1850s is saved under one of the parlor carpets.
It seems so delicate a place considering all of the politics that has gone on in these halls over the decades. And the more you know about Mississippi History the more, I suppose, the mansion will mean to you. But you don't even have to be from Mississippi to appreciate its beauty. And to appreciate the admission price.
Lauren Miller: We're free to the public. We're open Tuesday through Friday mornings with tours given on the half hour. And we do ask if you have a group of 10 or more that you call and schedule.
Walt: It's a huge hunk of history and it's open year round for you to pop in and see for free in downtown Jackson.
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