Under the Dome

October 21, 2013

Renovations to Executive Mansion have stirred controversy before

There were proposals to tear the Executive Mansion down in the 1970s.

The dust up over renovations to the Executive Mansion involving Gov. Pat McCrory are nothing new.

In 1969, after Gov. Bob Scott complained about deteriorating conditions in the 1891 mansion, WBTV in Charlotte issued a call to raze it, newspaperman-turned historian Lew Powell recalls in his blog.

"Though Victorian architecture leaned toward the frilly, there are many such buildings that have a graceful and airy charm,'' WBTV said. "By contrast, the Executive Mansion is a hodgepodge of turrets, balconies, gables and architectural gingerbread assembled into one tasteless mass. At its best, it's pompous; at its worst, it's ludicrous.'

"The governor's mansion was a mistake when it was built, continues to be a mistake and has little value beyond the furnishings it holds and the price that could be gotten out of the sale of its salvage,'' the station said.

At the instruction of the legislature, plans were drawn for a "French country” residence for the governor; reaction was overwhelmingly negative, however, and the tide turned in favor of renovation, which was completed in 1975, Powell reports.

Scott's successor, Gov. Jim Holshouser, spent months living in a rented North Raleigh house while the repairs were being done.

Earlier this month, McCrory decided against a proposal to spend $230,000 on renovating the bathrooms in the Executive Mansion that had not been upgraded since the 1970’s. The renovations had been recommended by the state budget office.

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