Above / Governor Bruce Rauner and Diana Rauner kicked off a celebratory weekend as they welcomed public to Illinois Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Tomev, Office of the Governor)

SPRINGFIELD (July 14, 2018) — Gov. Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner welcomed guests and visitors during the grand reopening of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion on East Jackson Street in Springfield.

Joining Mansion Curator Justin Blandford to unlock the front door at a celebratory ceremony, the Rauners cheered the results of the two-years long, privately-funded project and encouraged Illinoisans to plan a visit soon to “the People’s House.”

“This is a great day for the state of Illinois,” Gov. Rauner stated in the news release. “Diana and I have been eager to reopen the doors of the mansion and we are so excited to invite the people of Illinois back to this historic facility.”

In addition to workers and project benefactors, the governor thanked U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, and Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, who shared an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to grace the Governor’s Mansion property.

“Of course, the biggest thanks of all goes to my wife, my First Lady Diana, who serves as chair of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association and is really the heart and soul of this renovation project,” the governor said.

Diana Rauner praised the association members, partners, donors and supporters who made the project possible — taking the 1800s-era mansion that had last undergone extensive renovation in the 1970s from a virtually uninhabitable, dilapidated state to an ADA-compliant, energy efficient, elegant space with a new visitors’ center, dedicated art space and more.

Third-oldest governor’s mansion* reopens its doors

“As the third oldest governor’s mansion in use, the residence was in desperate need of attention,” she said. “The exterior needed repair, the furnishings were worn out and the facilities were showing their age … today, we can’t wait to welcome you all inside to see the tremendous strides we’ve made.”

In addition to welcoming visitors and guests and applauding project supporters, Diana Rauner introduced Loyola University Chicago graphic design student Chrystal Ragasa, who created the new logo for the Mansion Association. Ragasa’s design was selected from among entries submitted by college-level students from throughout the state.

Daily public tours from 1-4PM

The Illinois Governor’s Mansion is now open for daily public tours from 1 to 4PM. Tours (click here for policies) last roughly one hour and may vary depending on age and size of group.

For more information regarding group tours and to learn more about the Illinois Governor’s Mansion, complete with vintage photographs, visit illinoismansion.org

“We consider the Governor’s Mansion the People’s House,” Gov. Rauner said. “Today and for generations to come, we invite the citizens of Illinois and visitors from around the world to visit this remarkable structure and to glimpse the history of our state, see the creations of its people and experience the hospitality that is endemic to Illinois.”

Story and photo submitted by Elizabeth Tomev, for the Office of the Governor.

RELATED PN POSTS / Throughout 2018, many special events have been leading up to celebrate the 200th birthday of the State of Illinois on Dec. 3, 2018. Click here for other PN posts related to the bicentennial.

*Editor’s Note: According to online sources, the governors’ mansions in Virginia and Puerto Rico are older than the one in Springfield, Illinois.