The Governor's Mansion is the official home of the governor of the U.S. State of Georgia. The mansion is located at 391 West Paces Ferry Road NW, in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood of the affluent Buckhead district of Atlanta.
The current Governor's Mansion is on property that belonged to former Atlanta mayor Robert Maddox (no relation to Lester Maddox), who owned a large English Tudor-style home on the site. A fire destroyed a large part of the house and Mr. Maddox sold the property to the state. The remainder of the home was demolished to construct the current mansion.
The Governor's Mansion is a three-level, 30-room, Greek Revival style home built in 1967. It stands on approximately 18 acres (73,000 m²) on historic West Paces Ferry Road in north-northwest Atlanta. It was designed by Georgia architect Thomas Bradbury and officially opened on January 1, 1968.
In 1975, the mansion was heavily damaged in a tornado that struck west and then north Atlanta on the morning of March 24, occurring just a week after Governor Busbee moved in after his inauguration, and necessitating a renovation. It also led to the tornado being called the "governor's tornado", the worst to hit the city until the 2008 storm that hit downtown. Later in 2008, the front door was damaged by fire during another renovation on the afternoon of September 11. The Atlanta Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire, and determined through thermal imaging that the fire had not spread inside the wall. Few people were present and nobody was injured, as it was after work hours, and the governor and his wife were away.
The house covers 24,000 square feet (2,200 m²) and has a total of 30 Doric columns around the porches. These columns are made from California redwoods and are each 24 feet (7 m) high. They are hollowed out and specially treated on the inside to handle water drainage from the roof. The setting is park-like with numerous trees. On the grounds is the swimming pool, tennis courts, children's play area, and the greenhouse. The centerpiece of the entrance is a Georgia marble fountain with three large flagpoles.
The mansion has three levels: a lower level, the main level, and the upper level. The lower level has various rooms supporting the mansion. The ballroom is located on this level. The ballroom has a capacity of 175 for formal dinner and has uses for smaller functions as well. The pool and outside patio are also off this level.
The main floor can be considered the State Floor. The majority of the rooms on this floor are used for official entertaining. The rooms also can be used for day-to-day activities. The Entrance Hall is the first thing you see as you enter. Flanking the right side is the Georgia Library containing books written by Georgia authors. Flanking the left of the entrance is the guest bedroom, which is the only bedroom on the main floor. Walking your way toward the back of the mansion you find the Circular Hall with its grand staircase. Located on the right the State Dining Room and the State sitting room on the Left. They are both used for formal state functions. The back center of the entrance hall contains the powder room on the right, Family Dining Room in front of you, and the Family Sitting Room to your left. The kitchen is in the back corner of the dining room. These are the three rooms used regularly by the family since this is the kitchen of the mansion.
The upper floor contains the Governor's private living quarters. This level contains among other features the Governor's Mansion office, first lady's office, and family living room. There are several special bedrooms on this floor. The Presidential Suite with its own sitting room, bedroom, and bath has a commanding view of the front lawn. The Carter Bedroom, named after the former president, Lincoln Bedroom, and a couple of other bedrooms are also on this level.
All of the furnishings in the house are considered to be museum quality and make up one of the finest Federal period collections in the United States. These furnishings were acquired by a 70-member fine arts committee while the Mansion was being constructed. It is a permanent collection and belongs to the state of Georgia. It does not change from one administration to the next.
Lester Maddox was the first governor to live there, followed by Jimmy Carter, George Busbee, Joe Frank Harris, Zell Miller, Roy Barnes, Sonny Perdue, and Nathan Deal who is the mansion's current resident.
Lester and Virginia Maddox, the first residents of the mansion, set a precedent of opening the mansion to the public for regularly scheduled tours, and that tradition has continued through today.Tours are conducted throughout the year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Reservations are needed for groups of 10 or more. There is no charge.
Georgia has had three official mansions and one unofficial mansion in two different cities: