January 21, 2015
by Jim Nowlan
Gov. Bruce Rauner promises to renovate the leaky Illinois Executive Mansion with his seemingly limitless wealth—and to live there as well.
Better to utilize the mansion extensively for social events for the political class, especially when the lawmakers are in town, but continue to live in Chicago, where the action is.
The undistinguished Italianate, brick, 16-room mansion was built in 1855 during the governorship of Joel Matteson (who apparently tampered with a jury to avoid prison for cashing in $300,000 in state script that had already earlier been redeemed).
Entry into the building is from under a low-ceilinged portico, which darkens the entry way. A spiral staircase leads up to airy, sunny public rooms that are furnished tastefully in 19th Century style of the era of its construction.
There is a large, long dining room that can serve 30 or so, I am recalling, for formal dinners but is used more frequently as a buffet table. Beyond the dining room is a modest ballroom with small stage that would be perfect for musicales, but is rarely used in that way. Read More