While the Governor’s mansion in Maple Bluff doesn’t have a swimming pool, it’s every bit as glamorous as the famous white abode that belonged to the Clampett family in the old sit-com, The Beverly Hillbillies. This week the Governor’s residence has been the topic of a news story that unfolded with some mild controversy. It seems questions arose as to how kitchen rennovations will be paid. This blog isn’t about that.
Instead, it’s an excuse to explore the rich architectual history of the 93-year-old home.
It was designed by one of the state’s most talented and in-demand architects, Frank Riley. Construction of the 34-room residence, which sprawls across nearly four acres on Lake Mendota’s southeast shoreline, began in 1920. The street-side property line is defined by black wrought iron fencing, the same wrought iron that surrounded the original State Capitol building.
Riley is known for many other designs in addition to the Governor’s mansion. His blueprints include places where the state’s most influencial gathered; places like the UW-Madison Chancellor’s residence and the swank Madison Club off the Capitol Square. But he also created important buildings for the general public including Madison East High School, built in 1922, making it the oldest continually running high school in the state.