In the early 1970’s The Washington State Governor’s Mansion was in such poor condition that some suggested it should be torn down and replaced with an office building. Instead, in 1971, First Lady Nancy Evans decided the mansion needed a plan and restoration. In 1972 Mrs. Evans asked Seattle League member, Mrs. Joseph E. Gandy, to chair what was then known as, “The Foundation for the Preservation of the Governor’s Mansion.”
This entirely volunteer organization was launched with the purpose of furnishing the Mansion’s public rooms without using any tax monies. In 1973 the Legislature appropriated funds for a substantial renovation of the Mansion and the addition of five private rooms. In 1989, Washington State’s 100th birthday, a group of citizens created a special Centennial gift. Over $300,000 was raised providing a permanent fund for the preservation and enhancement of the Mansion’s historic public rooms. In 1988 the name of the organization was changed to the “Governor’s Mansion Foundation.” Today the Washington State Governor’s Mansion is recognized as one of the finest homes of its kind in the country and the Foundation remains a non-political, volunteer organization dedicated to the support and maintenance of its public rooms, including acquiring Northwest art, books, and period furniture.
From Mrs. Gandy who served as Chair of the founding organization to Founding Trustees Mrs. Bryant Dunn, Miss Patricia Baillargeon, Mrs. Donald Foster, Mrs. Elmer Nordstrom, and Mrs. Sheffield Phelps, the Junior League of Seattle has played a major role in saving and restoring the Mansion. Virginia Kitchell, Diana Neely, and Jane Langlie have served as presidents of the Foundation and other Seattle League members serve as Trustees of the Foundation to this day.
On May 30, 2012, The Governor’s Mansion Foundation will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia from 5:30 to 7 pm. Those wishing to attend the celebration, representing the Junior League of Seattle’s role in establishing the Foundation, should contact Gale Barre, firstname.lastname@example.org. For security reasons, attendance is by invitation only.