The first official residence for Alabama's chief executive was acquired in 1911. Before that time governors lived in private homes or even in local hotels during their terms of office. Built in 1906 by Moses Sable, the imposing Beaux Arts brownstone was located on the southwest corner of South Perry and South Streets in Montgomery. A special commission of seven members was authorized by Act #24 of the 1911 legislative session to contract for the erection, purchase, or improvement of a residence and the acquisition of grounds. The Sable home cost the state $46,500. Governor Emmett O'Neal (1911-15) was the first to occupy the mansion.
The current official residence superseded the original executive mansion in 1950. A state commission established by the legislature in that year purchased the home of the late General Robert Fulwood Ligon from his heirs. It was located at 1108 South Perry Street, just a few blocks away from the existing mansion. Purchased at a cost of $100,000 by the Capitol Building Commission, another $130,000 was spent on renovations and furnishings.
Originally built in 1907 for General Ligon by the architect Weatherly Carter, the current executive residence is in the Neo-Classical Revival style with Corinthian columns at the front. It features a spacious interior with a double staircase leading from the foyer to apartments above. A formal garden surrounded by a high ornamental wall originally covered the entire back lawn of the property which extends through the block to South Court Street. A pool in the shape of the state of Alabama was built in the mid-1970s, along with a stone grotto with waterfall.
Governor Gordon Persons and his family were the first to occupy the former Ligon home when it became the Governor's Mansion, moving in on the day of his inauguration - January 15, 1951. The former official residence housed the state offices of the Adjutant General and the Military Department until May of 1959, when the property was sold to the Montgomery Academy, a private school. In 1963, the original Governor's Mansion was demolished as part of the construction of Interstate Highway 85.
Official and Statistical Register, 1979 Edition
[Tom Dolan] A Comprehensive Study of the Governor's Mansion of the State of Alabama Alabama Historical Commission, ca 1987
Updated: June 26, 2001
Alabama Department of Archives & History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
Phone: (334) 242-4435