Designing Women S4 E8 Extra Sugar - The Mansion to Rule Them All
Updated: Apr 1
In this week’s “Designing Women” episode, a relatively-rare Julia mishap landed us square in the entryway of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion for nearly the entire episode. Which, of course, means it’s time to deep-dive into that one (and a few others) - and why not throw in a “Grits Blitz” while we’re at it?
Atlanta Magazine's quick tour of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion
The Georgia Governor’s website offers a virtual tour of the mansion
Realtor.com’s overview of interesting governor’s mansions
Insider's look at governor’s mansions across the country
Hi and welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.
I don't know what to do with my hands.
Your hands aren't necessary for a podcast.
So just say hi, hello.
So they know I'm not holding her hostage.
Why do you sound like you're so nervous because we have her cameras going.
We have two cameras on us right now.
Um I also handed her some paraphernalia for this segment.
Paraphernalia is not the right word.
Uh leave behind.
Anyway, I gave her things.
I gave her things and yelled at her really aggressively to not touch them and look at them and anyhoo, how about we just get in the segment?
It's always the perfect set up for a game.
It's what I associate it with anyway.
So our women gave us some real high jinks in this week's designing women episode when Julia got her head stuck in a stair banister and not just any stair banister, a priceless piece of carpentry history living in the staircase of the Georgia Governor's mansion.
As you'll remember though, from the top of our main episode, the banister itself isn't real, but there are plenty of other amazing things in Georgia's governor's mansion and governor's mansions around the south.
Do you love that?
I thought I could learn all about it today in Extra Sugar, which I'm calling the mansion to rule them all.
So for this segment, we're first gonna learn a little bit more about the Georgia Governor's mansion in particular.
Then, as I've already mentioned, I've given Selena another handout which means it's time for a segment of yes, ma'am.
Uh She's got a map of the United States with six locations marked as well as pictures of six governor's mansions and I'm still not looking.
Oh my goodness.
Can you just listen, we'll get there.
I'd like her to match each residence to its residence.
You're doing great.
So if you want Selena, while you listen, you can start a match.
I thought you said I could start imagining starting.
So you want to match the location on the map to the mansion?
If you get three of them, right?
We can consider some sort of prize situation for you.
Since this segment is house related, I, we should just always do prizes instead of like I, I was gonna say detriments but like, you know, just like if you win, you get something but we don't have to do lose losses.
Yeah, that's fine.
Have we done losses?
Have you had to buy me coffee before?
Is that what this is about?
Because I consistently win.
Well, you do consistently win, but I thought it had gone both ways, but maybe, maybe you have always won over me.
I can't remember one over you.
I mean, I think that's probably like, if someone says, like, who's the winner, I'd be like, Nicky, unless it's movie trivia or TV, trivia, I'm a huge loser.
So that's not true.
And you're going to prove that wrong today because you're going to win grid splits.
And what I was going to suggest is since the segment's house related, I could owe you something healthy from my next bucky trip because I'm sure there will be one if you're in a food mood.
You know, like we've mentioned before, I've been making homemade doughnuts lately so I could make you some and deliver them.
We could always do coffee.
That's a safe fallback.
So you think on that, you think on that uh before we get to grit splits though, we're gonna learn about the Georgia Governor's mansion.
So we know the banister isn't historic, but there's a lot more that is the mansion at 3 91 West Paces Road Northwest in Atlanta.
It's in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood of Buckhead, which we've talked about on here before, was built in 1967 and officially opened on January 1st, 1968.
It's a three level 30 room Greek revival style home which stands on 18 acres of land.
It originally cost $1 million to build a Thomas Bradbury designed the home I'm mentioning that only because Bradbury is a Georgia native and they're really well known for designing a lot of government buildings in and around Atlanta, including the Georgia Archives building, which has now been demolished.
Do you know?
I think if you saw a picture you'd know the building I'm talking about it.
It was near uh Turner Field and it's very modern looking.
It's just like almost like a brown box on stilts.
I, I know, I'm not sure.
I'll have to find you a picture.
I think you would know it if you saw it anyway.
Bradbury built a lot of Georgia buildings for the government.
Um, and I think it's worth noting in case the 1968 construction date didn't give it away.
The current Governor's mansion is in no way, the original governor's mansion in Georgia.
Uh, in fact, there have been at least three in the States in two different cities.
Uh, the first in Milledgeville served as the executive home from 18 38 to 18 68.
You look like that doesn't surprise you, Georgia because it's been like five capitals or something.
Uh, that one is still available for tours, which I thought was really cool.
Uh, Milledgeville is about two hours away from Atlanta.
So it's a little bit of a hike if you want to go tour that good Lord, you gave me a really distracting.
I'm sorry, I promise it will be good.
But so the Georgia capital moved to Atlanta in 1868.
And during that time, other houses served as the governor's home until the current one was built in the 60s.
I don't think any of those prior Atlanta area homes still exist.
I think they've all been demolished over time.
One thing I read consistently about the Georgia mansion, Georgia Governor's Mansion is how much truly antique and priceless stuff is inside.
Um And that was both on like the Governor's Mansion website.
So of course, they're gonna write it that way.
But also like I found news articles and other things that kind of validated that these are really truly historic things.
Um So I'm gonna include a note, a link in the show notes to a virtual tour you can take of the house.
It includes notes about some of the more notable items in the house.
But for instance, when you first enter the home, there are two sitting chairs kind of on either side of the entrance.
They date back to the 1810 to 1830 era chairs that have survived that many years.
Um As you enter the library of the house, there's a framed needlepoint portrait of George Washington, which was completed in 1875, 18 75.
I'm just blown away.
Well, it is also a really big deal for Georgia because we don't have a lot of Old Sherman and whatnot that well, and not just Sherman.
I mean, the place has just been burned down a few times.
So, um, we've lost things like, you know, I, I'm, I'm trying not to be the northern, the northern aggression now.
Um, so, yeah, I think we just, we've had a hard time.
Yeah, we can't, we can't keep old stuff.
Uh, that needle point blew my mind.
It's, it's huge.
I don't, it's incredible.
The mantle in the state dining room area was carved from Italian marble in England in 1750.
And that's like brand spanking new for England.
Like look at this new piece of crap.
There are a decorative items sitting on top of that mantle from the early 1800s, like that new piece of crap.
Just give it to Georgia.
I was just like, wait, wait a minute.
Uh in that same room, there's a crystal Waterford chandelier from about 1800.
Um And there's also a torch that was used in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Just sitting in one of the drawing rooms.
It's a new piece of crap that is new.
That's, that's in my lifetime.
So it's new.
Um I, you know, it's funny as I was clicking through all these pictures and it was like needle points from the 1700s.
I was imagining like one day someone does a virtual tour of my house.
This is the description I think you would find.
And here you'll find a jaunty blue rug spanning the floor.
The edges are slightly frayed from the robot vacuum the lady of the house uses because she can't keep up with the housework.
Oh, and here's a trio of Target's finest knickknacks circa 2022.
And finally, this is the first of a dozen Alexa devices employed throughout the house.
Oh, that's a fun exercise.
And they say it would be like they're all arca, like there's a really, like one point.
Oh, right, Alexa, mine are, uh, interestingly Rosalynn Carter.
President Jimmy Carter's wife, of course, said moving to the White House was kind of a step down from living in the Governor of Georgia, the Georgia Governor's mansion.
They're confusing me.
Isn't that cool?
That is cool.
I mean, I think, I, I think we, like, there's been, the White House is just really old.
Is that true?
I mean, but I've heard like, I think there's been several presidents who've gone in and been like, yeah, I could use some upgrades and they, you know, presidents in general, like politicians at that level, politicians are used to living a certain way.
So I'm sure that a home from the things are comfier.
They're cushier, you know?
Yeah, I'm, I'm processing, as you're saying that I'm processing some of the things I read when we get into grit splits, we'll talk about other governor's mansions.
Um, but a lot of them struggle with that concept of remodeling and keeping it updated because taxpayers don't necessarily want to pay for a house that the governor's living in essentially exceptional amounts of money.
Um, but also a lot of these are old homes and so they do need to be maintained.
They're an integral part of the state's history.
So it's a little bit of a balance anyhow.
It's time, it's time for a big game.
Are you ready, Selena?
Uh, Yeah, she's ready.
You look nervous, dear.
And I just, do you want to grade my paper or how are you doing this?
Uh I don't know if I thought about that part.
Let's take a look.
Uh So as I mentioned before, I gave you a map with a handful of locations marked and a few photos of governor's mansions.
And I wanted you to match the mansion you you can hear says, no, I wanted you to match the mansion with the location.
I would be happy if I got one.
I think like uh one out of six ain't bad.
That did that terrify you.
Uh a little bit.
I mean to say one out of six should terrify you.
Uh I thought it was worth noting that 45 out of the 50 US states have mansions in which the state's chief can live rent free during their term.
Uh The states that don't have official homes, they might offer their governor a stipend to pay for a place to live or they might not just depends on the state.
You just figure it out.
My friend, I'd be interested to know those states.
I wish I should have written them down.
I guess I should have written them down.
No, I was gonna say, I think Alaska is one, but I don't think that's true.
I can find you an answer.
It'll be in the show notes if you click some of the references.
The first one um that you got wrong is you did get it wrong.
Uh It's the monster.
It's in Springfield, Illinois.
Um You listed that one as Denver.
Yeah, I was, I thought it was like Dover.
Dover is another.
So the monster, the biggest one.
This is Springfield, Illinois.
So that's this one on this picture.
Oh, you said um this one was Springfield.
Uh So this one is the largest state executive home with 16 rooms bringing in at 45,120 square feet.
It was built in 18 55 or are they also doing like government stuff on?
Yes, I think so.
It was built in 1855.
That would be the third oldest governor's residence in the nation.
The home was originally designed with hosting official state functions in mind as its primary purpose.
Uh And that it did many influential American figures have been guests including President Ulysses S Grant Rutherford B.
Hayes, I feel like I always have to say his name, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln also made a visit to the mansion in 18 60 shortly before his nomination as the Republican candidate for president.
And I thought it was in my notes somewhere, but there's a, there's a bed in this mansion that he slept in, that's still in the house, which I thought was cool.
Um A little creepy.
So this black and white picture here is Dover Delaware.
So you had it as Springfield.
So you had that one?
This is in Delaware.
Um So this one I'm calling the baby because it's on the opposite end of the spectrum from that first one, that gigantic one.
Um It's, it's the tiniest one in the nation.
I thought this was the nickname the monster.
They're my nicknames.
I'm going to go to Springfield and be like, hi monster.
Uh This one is 3600 and 80 square feet.
So it's like a, it's like a no, I won't say normal.
It's a suburban kind of size home pretty, still pretty big.
Uh Built in 17 98.
The home served as a stop on the underground railroad according to Delaware today, but it didn't officially become the governor's mansion until 1964 when it was purchased by the state.
Before that, it had been inhabited periodically by governors who leased it as well as many other wealthy and prominent citizens.
I'll talk about a house in a minute.
That on my list earns a distinction.
And this list is inspired by like I think a realtor dot com article I found which I am linking to in the show notes.
Um It, it was, it got the distinction of the ghost house, but this house as well has had a number of reported hauntings over the years.
Let me tell you the reason I like this house and I think this is a little challenging, right?
Because people can't see.
Yeah, sorry about that guys.
Um But good job with your game.
I'll see on social media one day.
So the thing I like about that one is uh it's understated and it's kind of what I like.
I just like, I, I like this like chilled rever reserved kind of thing.
Not too ostentatious.
There's something I like about that like that governor is working, you know, Delaware is also a small state.
They don't have time for this like mansion business.
They got a government to run.
I like that.
Getting down to business.
Good way of looking at it.
Uh So the next one on the list is this one down here which you listed as Raleigh.
It's actually Denver, Colorado.
I hate this game.
I'm calling it the I actually thought the snow in the picture might give it away.
I was a little worried, oh, I didn't even see the see I had you distracted.
You were trying to listen.
You can make me donuts.
Now there'll be pity donuts though.
They'll taste like pity.
Is that what you want?
You don't care.
You know, I told you I'm a loser and I don't care.
So I'm calling this one, the bar.
Um, this governor's mansion is also known as the Cheeseman Becher Mansion and it was built in 1908.
It was originally built for the widow and daughter of a local real estate type coon.
And it served as their family home for many years until it landed in the hands of a local philanthropic organization.
I think it just sort of fell out of the family and then instead of just letting it go to waste, the philanthropic organization took it and then they offered it to the state as the executive mansion in the late 50s.
Um It, this home is 100 years old and it's a little more than 100 years old.
It's most unusual claim to fame is the three draft beer system which was installed by a governor who pioneered the craft beer industry in the state.
In the late 1980s, they rotate beers from around the state.
That's really cool.
It is really cool.
So, you know, I wasn't looking at snow, I was looking at the architecture and I was like, certainly that architecture wouldn't be in Denver that teach me that is a little bit, it is a little bit disorienting looking at some of these houses.
And, you know, I think the thing I have to remember though is this idea that, like, um some of these homes, like you said, the Georgia one is in the Greek revival.
So like while the South did capitalize on that a lot, obviously, other parts of the country did too.
And I think it's, it's easy to get that confused.
It's not an architect.
You're not an architect.
Well, I'd be doing really badly if I, I don't know.
I don't think so because I do think I, you want to think these are regional, but I think a lot of them borrowed from other areas, especially some of the newer ones, although these are all pretty, um, pretty dated.
So waiting to see, like if they made some, now they'd be like covered in ship lap and like whitewash brick.
So the next one, number four is the ghost house in, um, Raleigh, North Carolina.
So that would have been this one.
This governor's home is a 35,000 square foot Victorian style mansion.
It's been the official residence since 18 91.
It's the state's fourth and has housed 30 governors inside.
It has rooms with 16.5 ft ceilings, an elevator and a bomb shelter.
Um, it sits on almost five acres of land and is the country's third biggest governor's mansion, former President Franklin D Roosevelt thought it was the most beautiful interior out of all the governor's mansions.
He had seen the governor who served in the late sixties and early seventies noted that he and his wife stayed in the same room, the first governor to live in the home state in.
Um, but they moved his custom bed to another room and stayed in the same room.
And they said every night around 10p ma knocking sound would start on the wall um separating the two rooms.
And it's worth noting that the governor that they're talking the ghost that they're thinking this is died in 1891 after complaining of indigestion, died in his bed.
This next one is Charleston, West Virginia.
I'm calling this one the funny Garden.
Oh my God, I got one right.
That's not just do.
No, I know that's wrong, but the bottom one is the bottom one, right?
Yes, I was gonna get there.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
I got, I told her she was too, she's too excited.
And that's when I looked at it, I was like, she's gonna be real happy, she's gonna be real happy.
Um So this one is Charleston, West Virginia.
It's a Georgian colonial style mansion that's been the official residence since 1925.
It boasts eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a drawing room, a ballroom, a state dining room, a sitting room and a library.
I'm sorry, can I ask one question?
Who is it again?
It's um Charleston, West Virginia.
I'm so sorry.
At its entrance, there are black and white marble floors.
Um, the black from Belgium, the white from Tennessee.
It also has dual staircases which were inspired by the White House.
It also features walled gardens, a separate garage and servants quarters.
Um Governor, the reason this one is called the Funny Garden is because Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who was in office from 2011 to 2017 and has a tight five in there.
The Funny Garden.
Oh, no, but that's better.
It was because he and his wife built a garden shaped like the state of West Virginia.
Almost when you say sorry, my eye twitch.
This one we're calling the fire trap and that is Sacramento California, which you got correct.
I mean, did the architecture give it away for you?
That one was the only one that was like crystal clear for me.
And this would have been an example of a house that wasn't borrowed from another place or borrowed from another, um, architectural style in another region because this one was built in 1877.
It has 30 rooms, Italian marble fireplaces, original wood, wood floors, Persian rugs and a kidney shaped swimming pool.
One governor avoided living there during their term calling it quote a fire trap.
It was a public museum for many years after that, finally undergoing a $1.6 million renovation and welcoming its first governor in 48 years in 2015.
Um, and so I had written this because I wasn't sure if you'd be done with your, um, your grading them.
So I hid some things.
But, um, now that you've already done it, I can tell you that Governor Ronald Reagan is the one who called it a trap, a fire trap.
Um, a Sacramento born writer called the Mansion.
Quote, an enlarged version of a very common kind of California tract house.
And the current Governor Gavin Newsom moved into the home after his election to promptly move back out three weeks later in favor of a home in the suburbs of Marion County about 1.5 hours away.
He, like, uprooted his family, moved them there and then moved an hour and a half away into like a $2 million house.
Um, I've got so many thoughts going through my head right now.
See, I may or may not have answers.
Go for it.
Well, I was gonna ask you, this has nothing to do with you.
This is just your personal preference.
Er, is there one on that list that you gravitate towards?
Oh, that's a good question because mine's the death trap before I knew it was a death trap that no one wanted to live in.
Like, I love that style home.
And I think it's so different than everything around.
Do you know about me that I lived in a Victorian style home in Pennsylvania.
I don't know.
I knew that until someone pulls the, uh, we lived in a house like this.
It's the coolest house I've ever lived in and I've lived in a fair number of homes over the years.
Um, it was a really cool house.
It was really like old in the 90s.
It was old.
So I imagine it was kind of an old house.
Um, it's quirky, like it's really tall.
There are lots of levels and it was, at the time we lived in it.
It was a duplex.
So we had a neighbor.
Um, but it was a really cool house.
My mom told this story though because we lived in Pennsylvania.
She had to go out and shovel the snow off the roof because the roof was gonna cave in because we had that much snow.
That's a lot.
Um, so to answer your question, I don't know.
I love an old house, especially an old house.
Like you said, this, um, Delaware house that's kind of understated, but also like a little bit like it has some gravy toss like this doesn't just look like, yeah, it doesn't look like just a little ranch house.
I mean, it looks like it has big columns.
It has a beautiful front porch.
This looks very southern to me and my dream is to live on a big piece of property with kind of like a gracious southern style home.
Probably um the Georgia Governor's mansion, the um Greek revival or whatever is probably that style.
It looks like Elvis's house.
Yeah, which I think was also Greek revival.
So, and I think my sorority house in college was a Greek revival.
So, yeah, I think that's probably the one, it just looks this Dover Delaware one you guys can't see.
That's the one I'm pointing out.
It looks like it's on a big piece of property out, kind of alone.
I like that.
I'm also really bothered.
This is really off topic but related to Charleston, West Virginia.
So I have to tell you that I got confused and I just saw Charleston.
So instead of thinking capital.
I'm thinking I was worried about that for you when I looked at this just before it started moving too quickly.
I just so fast.
Um I literally don't remember Charleston being West Virginia's capital and I'm sure like every other student in the United States at some point, you had to learn every capital in every state and I was, that's like, that's right in my wheelhouse of very few talents.
I'm like over here, low key searching if you got it wrong.
No, I think they're capital change since I learned them.
That's what I'm over here telling myself.
I don't think that's true, but I can't, it's it's like breaking my brain how I can't remember this one capital when I can, I could probably still do a pretty good job telling you all of the other capitals or at least recognizing the name when I hear it.
Charleston was nominated at state capital in 1870.
Right before I was born.
After, right after I was sorry.
But you did really good on the, um, that's what you wanted, that you met your goal, you met and almost exceeded your goal almost.
Which is exactly where I like.
You also learned about Charleston, West Virginia.
I learned the capital that I should have known or probably knew at some point in time.
Maybe Charleston has just won a place in my heart.
That's what I think of any other Charleston.
But the Charleston, that means the most to me currently because I haven't been to Charleston, West Virginia.
Maybe that would be my favorite place.
I've heard, I've heard it's really beautiful.
I know they have, they have their own problems, but I've heard it's really beautiful.
Um, I have no reason to believe this except it doesn't surprise me.
Like Charleston, I understand to be the capital of West Virginia and I wonder if, um, maybe I remembered it because of Charleston, South Carolina.
Like it was kind of easy for to remember.
Uh, I still get confused that Charleston is not the capital of my home state, South Carolina.
So I'm not great with capital.
So you don't want to be in my company and having that conversation about state capitals.
I'm just not good at it.
I can't help it.
I'm not good at it either.
Or houses or anything.
But here's what I am good at Sacramento, California eating donuts.
She's bringing it back to, I'm making her doughnuts.
You'll have to give some thought to whether you want the air fried yeasty version or the baked version yeasty every time as it was coming out.
And that's been this week.
I won't let you still my beautiful transition.
Well, it's time for us to wrap this up and for me to head back to my not an executive mansion home in the suburbs.
That sounds yeasty as always forget yeast.
But remember you can follow along with us and engage on Instagram and Facebook at Sweet Tea and TV tiktok at Sweet Tea TV pod.
Our email address is Sweet Tea TV pod at gmail dot com and our website is W W W dot sweet Tea TV dot com.
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So I'm not lifting from anybody realtor dot com.
That article is listed there.
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And that has been this week's extra show.