Newspaper Page Text
Montana Furnishes Governor With Mansion and Maintains It Residence Cost $33,000 in 1913; Allow $5,000 a Year Upkeep I ii % m mss 'MM m s»-.-* m ■m. SIDE VIEW OF EXECUTIVE MANSION The mansion is located at the corner of Ewing street and Sixth avenue, Helena, and its grounds occupy a fourth of the block. The residence was built by the late W. A. Chesman. The state bought it in 1913 from' Harfield Conrad for $33,000. It was owned previously by Mrs. Peter Larson. __ _ aspirations to the skies, where neither moth nor rust dôth cor rupt nor thieves break through! By WILL AIKEN, S ecretary to the Governor M OST of us mortals here below are frank to ad mit mansions yi and steal, but there are relative ly '.very few of us whose aspira tions carry us to occupancy of the mansion that is provided by the state of Montana for the governor and his family. * Time was—and not so many moons ago at that—-when the state paid the chief executive the magnificent sum of five thousand dollars the year, and "find himself;" just about enough to pay the silk shirt bill of some of the skilled workers of whom we read SO much dur , mg the war days, rhe governor . , ... his home city, and he owned his ».noi/lnnnn • K.,f whan Pnvornnr residence, but when Go\emoi Edwin L. Norris came into of usually found himself very near if not actually "in the red" when he came to balance accounts at the close of the year and the term. Governor Joseph K. Toole had a shade the best of the game, for the reason that Helena was fice it was necessary for him to SITTING ROOM IN EXECUTIVE MANSION There are twenty rooms in the mansion, which is three stories in height. The sitting room, though possess ing a degree of elegance, carries out the sceheme of simplicity used in the other rooms. In addition to this room, the reception hall, the "den" and the library, afford the governor and his family spaciousness for their enter tainments. rent or buy, and he chose the latter. It had long been apparent that the salary of the governor was not commenslirate with the duties to which the people call < ;d their head of government, — Private Secretary to Three Governors - Will Aiken, the present private secre tary of the governor of Montana, un questionably holds the unrivaled record for length of service as a governor's secretary in the whole 1'nited States Mr. Aiken became secretary to the gov ernor during the term of Governor .1. K. Toole, which began in 1901, practically twenty years ago, and has continued in that capacity to this day. Governor: Toole did not complete his second term, and he was succeeded in 190S by Lieu tenant Gove^jr Edwin L. Nor ris of Great Fails, who was elected governor that fall and commenced his own term in 1909. Governor Norris '.v;«s sue ceeded in 191.*i hv Governor S. V. Stew art of Vjrginia ( -, tv who was r ,_ clectP(1 j in 1916, and relinquishes the office next 'month to Governor Joseph SI. Dixon of i m; SS()u]a . Much publicity was given to Governor j Stewart at. the recent governors' con ference held in Ilarrisburg, Pa., for be ing the dean of the governors at pres ent in office throughout the nation, Mr. Stewart being the only chief state exec utive in the United States who had held the position continuously since 191-?. Hut Mr. Aiken ranks Governor Stewart by several years when it conies to being a veteran in service. No one has ever found out. from Mr. Aiken just why it is he has held the present position so long All the governors he served under were Democrats, but Mr. Aiken never claimed ' s| '® tedious duties a s a partisan reward. j s reas on to believe that long ago hie became so proficient in the tasks as signed to him that no governor has dar to assume the work of th utive of __ _ but it was not until the Thir j teenth Legislative assembly met that there was any serious movement to change the exist . in £ order of things. That body in 1913, shortly after the open-| ' ing of Governor S Stewart s ! j j j ; j j j ; : j j j ' j ; I fice without him. However, it is hinted that Governor Dixen is to break the spell- not that the office will run any smoother without the veteran secretory, but, 'tis said, because Mr- Dixon is a North Carolina Republican and Mr. Aiken is a North Carolina Democrat and "down theah" no compromises are made j between political pel »nag f first term, made an appropria tion for the purchase of a man sion that should house the gov ernor and his family—the then governor and those who should come after him. The same assembly passed a law increasing the salary of the governor to seven thousand five hundred dollars the year, but that profited Governor Stewart nothing whatever for nearly four years, or until the begin ning of his second term, because of the constitutional provision that an official's salary shall not be increased or diminished during his term for which he has been elected. The provision is a wise one, but it may easily be figured that it cost Governor Stewart ten thousand dollars in his first term. However, he is a good spo^t and no one ever heard him kick about it. Let it not be inferred that the increase in salary and the pos ; session of an executive mansion ; operate to submerge the occu j pant of the office in anv appre t ciable amount of "velvet." A! standard of livincr i<* dp ® . manned 0i a governor than is re quii-ed of the average citizen, w hen y 0U ^d the exactions > 0 f our years-old enemy, high i COf5 £ jiving, it will be found the salary is not nearly so j arge as it j ooks on paper or on an appropriation bill But let us repair to the ex ecutive mansion, of which little is known by the people outside ! of Helena. It is one of the most ! attractive of the many hand j some homes in the capital city, built of brick and having three j stories and basement. The grounds are spacious, and there are numerous stately old shade trees in the parking and on the lawn itself—altogether a de lightful place in which the gov ernor may rest and invite his soul after he h.':s disposed of the business of the day at his office in the capitol. Standing at the corner of Ewing street and Sixth avenue, three blocks from the heart of the city, the property occupies almost a fourth of the block bounded by Sixth and Seventh avenues and 1 Warren and Ewing streets. Acting upon the authority conferred by the legislative as sembly of 1913, the state board of examiners purchased the property from Harfield Conrad, I who had some time before j bought it from Mrs. Peter Lar son. It was built by Mr. W. A. j Chessman, one of Helena's pio neer citizens, who recently died at the age of ninety, and was known .to be one of the best built homes in all Helena. The price paid for the property, including such furniture as was retained, was $33,000, a figure far below the original cost of the struc ture. There are twenty rooms in the mansion, taking into ac count the five rooms of the basement. It is furnished as the home of a governor should I be furnished; not lavishly, but tastefully, substantially, "hom ily" if that term may be coined for the occasion. Realizing that the governor should not be called upon to maintain so large an establish ment out of the salary, the leg islature makes provision for the maintenance of the property by a stated appropriation for each year. For the past four years this annual appropriation has been five thousand dollars, which sum provides for replace ments, repairs necessary to keep the property in perfect condi tion, fuel, light, water, etc., and ! j ! ! S m DINING ROOM IN EXECUTIVE MANSION As may be seen from the above, the rooms of the mansion are not lavishly furnished, a degree of simplicity prevailing'throughout the residence. The cost of entertaining at dinners and parties in the mansion must be paid from the governor's salary, but $5,000 is allowed annually for repairs and replacements to the building and its furniture. the pay of such persons as con stitute the hired help of the mansion. The ordinary house hold expenses are borne by the governor himself, although it is interesting to note that in some of the states the larder of the GOV. S. V. STEWART The executive mansion was pur chased in 1913, during Governor Stewart's first year as chief execu tive, and his family is the first and only governor's family to occupy it. By careful management, Gov. and Mrs. Stewart have been able to re turn to the state a portion of the maintenance fund each biennium. a m S mm >.*. r GOVERNOR'S RECEPTION ROOM IN STATE CAPITOL At the state capitol the governor has a large reception room with a public entrance from one of the main halls and a private entrance from his office. In larger states, such as New York, a room similar to tms is used by the governor for receiving all visitors, but Montana's governors meet their callers m the governors ottice, and the large reception room is used seldom except for formal accasions such as when the governor taxes oa a of office. I mansion is kept stocked by the ; state. A considerable amount of this ! maintenance appropriation re mains unexpended at the expira tion of the biennial period and I then reverts to the general fund ; in the state treasury. At the end of the two-year period on ; February 28, 1919, there was an unexpired balance of $1255. 39, and it is estimated that the reversion when the next bienni us ends on February 28, 1921, will be in the neighborhood of three thousand dollars. The mansion has been the Eight in New GovernorFamily After January first, when Governor Joseph M. Dixon and family will become its occupants, the excutive mansion is to be a busier place than it has been under Governor Stewart, for Governor Dixon has six daughters, whereas the present gov ernor has but two, and the young Dixons will be fresh from the country estate of the new governor which is located near Flathead lake, and anxious to take part in all sorts of affairs. At least two of the girls are in the early twenties and two others are in the teens, so the younger set in the capital city is looking forward to many parties in the governor's resi dence. It is expected that Governor and Mrs. Dixon are to at tempt many functions and that Helena is to become the social capital as well as the political capital, with the first lady in the excutive mansion performing the duties of social arbiter on a state wide scale. scene of numerous delightful social functions, chief among which are the legislative recep tions, it having been the custom of Governor and Mrs. Stewart to give at least one reception during each session for the members and their ladies. 1 The state waited quite a while before it decided to provide a ! residence for its governor, but ! when it reached the decision it carried it into execution with characteristic t h o r oughness. The official home of the chief executive is one which any cit izen might be proud to occupy and it is a credit to the people who through their representa tives have provided it.