Executive Mansion

Montana State Capitol Campus Historic District

Since its completion in 1959, the Executive Residence has not only served as home for Montana’s first families, but also played an important part in the functioning of state government. It is the second such structure to fill that role. Initially, Montana’s governors were left to secure their own housing. Then, in 1913, the state purchased a Queen Anne style mansion, built in 1888, to house Montana’s chief executives. By the early 1950s that stately dwelling “had lost much of its luster” and maintenance costs were becoming problematic. Consequently, in 1953, Billings architect Chandler C. Cohagen produced a design that featured extensive use of glass, native building materials, and an open floor plan suitable for state functions. Funding issues delayed the home’s construction for six years and forced alterations to the original design. Throughout the construction process, the project remained controversial because of its cost as well as its “modern… but not modernistic” design. When completed, many Montanans remained critical of its contemporary aesthetic. Others, however, praised it for having the “dignity and elegance befitting Montana’s chief executive.”

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2 North Carson Street, Helena, Montana ~ Public