Jump to Navigation

Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion, 1901-1962From 1861, when Kansas became a state, until 1901, governors and their families had to find their own lodging when they moved to Topeka. Many took up residence in downtown hotels including the Tefft House, Copeland, Dutton, and Chesterfield hotels. Then in 1901 the state acquired an official governor's residence.

Erasmus Bennett was a breeder and importer of registered draft horses who lived in Topeka. He hired architect Seymour Davis to design his house. The elegant 7,500 square foot Victorian home, completed in 1887, cost of $60,000.The two-story red brick structure was trimmed in terra cotta and had a hint of a Tudor style with the tall towers and turrets. Bennett experienced financial hardships and he sold his house and furnishings to the state of Kansas for $26,000 to be used for the governor's residence.

Mrs. Andrew Schoeppel, 1944Governor William Stanley (1899-1903) and his wife were the first to occupy the house. Many first families followed and the house was remodeled several times. The only major structural change made to the house was the addition of a sleeping porch, which was built in the rear. In 1910 Governor W.R. Stubbs had the red bricks painted yellow. They were later painted white and remained so in following years.

Over the years the house was not well maintained. In 1960 the south portico collapsed in a heavy snowstorm. Madge Overstreet MacLennan made a generous gift to the state and solved the state's need for a new governor's residence.

The last official function of the Bennett house was a pre-Kansas Day reception held on January 28, 1962. The governor’s official residence moved to Cedar Crest, at 6th and Fairlawn, northwest of Topeka.  In January 1965 the former governor’s mansion was demolished.

Entry: Governor's Mansion

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2015

Date Modified: February 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.