But perhaps none has touched so many of our leaders, none has had the staying power, none has been so completely agreed upon by those with strongly differing political views than our Executive Mansion, aka Virginia’s Governor’s Mansion at Capitol Square.
Tuesday night, there was a red-carpet gala at Center Stage to begin the celebration of the 200th birthday of the mansion, the oldest still-in-use governor’s mansion in the U.S.
It’s a building that has seen 58 governors, two fires, many renovations and more visits by dignitaries than perhaps any other structure in the state.
The event began with an introduction by current resident Gov. Bob McDonnell, followed by the sweet songs of George Dennehy of Ashland, a musician born armless who exemplifies adaptability.
The black-tie event showcased a documentary about the mansion based on “First House: Two Centuries with Virginia’s First Families,” a richly detailed book by author and historian Mary Miley Theobald.
There have been so many visitors, so many changes, she said. And yet the character remains, along with the ghost that haunts it.
Tuesday night’s event ended with a panel of Virginia governors, including McDonnell, Tim Kaine, George Allen and Jim Gilmore telling stories about this loyal companion and servant of our Commonwealth.
The grand celebration, free and open to the public, will be held on the lawn in front of the mansion Saturday, March 16, beginning at 4 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. There will be live music, food trucks, games and a screening of the “First House” movie. Registration is encouraged at vagovsmansion200th.eventbrite.com