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North Carolina Executive Mansion, designed by Samuel Sloan
Photo by Michael Zirkle Photography, courtesy of Raleigh Historic Development Commission

Since 1891, the Executive Mansion has served as the official residence of North Carolina's governors. Today, as when it was constructed, it serves as an architectural anchor of the Blount Street neighborhood. Its predecessor was a large brick residence built in 1814, at the south end of Fayetteville Street (today's Raleigh Memorial Auditorium stands on the site). Neglect and the damage of war led to that building's abandonment in 1865. For a quarter century afterward, the state's governors resided in private homes or hotels. Planning for a new executive residence began in the 1870s under Governor Zebulon B. Vance.

[photo] The North Carolina Executive Mansion has been used for many events and guests of state
Photo courtesy of North Carolina Division of Archives and History

Burke Square, northeasternmost of the city's four original public squares, was selected as the house site. Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia and his assistant Adolphus Bauer presented their plans in 1883; work began shortly thereafter.Bauer was subsequently to design several other prominent downtown buildings, including the nearby Capehart House. Supervising the work was Colonel W. G. Hicks, superintendent of the State Prison, who economized through use of local materials and convict labor. The initials of several brick-making prisoners can be seen today, etched into the red sidewalk pavers. The house was finished in 1890 and occupied by Governor Daniel G. Fowle on January 5, 1891. Over the years, besides housing the governor's family, the building has been the setting for public functions and social events and has welcomed numerous guests of state. Despite several internal modernizations, the building's exterior is virtually unaltered from its original appearance.

The Executive Mansion is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.

The North Carolina Executive Mansion is located at 201 N. Blount St. Its first floor is open for tours on a frequent basis, particularly during the holidays; hours vary by season. Call the Capital Area Visitor Services at 919-807-7950 for tour times.

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