Rauner calls condition of Executive Mansion “travesty”

SPRINGFIELD — The governor’s mansion is a disaster – so says the governor.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has spent a couple of nights now at the Executive Mansion in Springfield, which is 160 years old and in need of repairs.

Rauner calls the condition of the home a travesty, noting the floors are buckled and that you can’t even come in the main entrance. Furniture has been damaged. There’s plaster falling out of the ceiling, and the elevator doesn’t work.

He says it’s OK for him, but the place should be fixed up. It hasn’t been substantially renovated since 1971, though George and Lura Lynn Ryan solicited private donations to restore some of the furniture. A full-scale restoration would cost millions and the state is broke, but Rauner says private donations may be the way to go, and if so, he’ll contribute.

The Executive Mansion is occasionally used for ceremonial functions, but is otherwise mostly a historic site with public tours available. The libraries, bedrooms, parlors and sitting rooms are maintained as they may have looked in the 19th century. The governor and his family reside in a seven-room private apartment on the second floor of the mansion.

The Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.