On this day in 1929: Touting his program to make N.C. agriculture more diverse and self-sufficient during the coming hard times, Gov. O. Max Gardner invites newspaper editors to a “Live at Home” dinner at the Executive Mansion.
Among menu items: oysters from Hyde County, scuppernong juice from the Coastal Plain Test Farm at Willard, ham from Caledonia prison farm, cheese from Kraft in West Jefferson, peach conserve from home demonstration clubs in Moore County, ice cream from N.C. State and cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds, Liggett & Myers and American Tobacco.
Pat McCrory isn’t the first North Carolina governor to find life in the Executive Mansion less than ideal.
In 1969, after Gov. Bob Scott complained about deteriorating conditions in the 1891 behemoth, WBTV in Charlotte issued a call to raze and replace it:
“Though Victorian architecture leaned toward the frilly, there are many such buildings that have a graceful and airy charm. By contrast, the Executive Mansion is a hodgepodge of turrets, balconies, gables and architectural gingerbread assembled into one tasteless mass. At its best, it’s pompous; at its worst, it’s ludicrous. . . . The governor’s mansion was a mistake when it was built, continues to be a mistake and has little value beyond the furnishings it holds and the price that could be gotten out of the sale of its salvage.”
At the instruction of the legislature, plans were drawn for a “French country” residence for the governor; reaction was overwhelmingly negative, however, and the tide turned in favor of renovation, which was completed in 1975.