Lowell E. Anderson Memoir
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Lowell E. Anderson Memoir AN23. Anderson, Lowell E. b.1921 Interview and memoir 2 tapes, 120 min., 26 pp. Lowell Anderson discusses the restoration of the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield during Governor Ogilvie's administration. He recalls the condition of the mansion, contents of the attic, termite problems, and structural changes that had been made to the roof and staircase. He discusses the process of restoration, selection of architects, craftsmen, and furniture, the Executive Mansion Association, project funding, and the construction of the rear addition to the building. Interview by Melinda Kwedar, 1984 OPEN See collateral file: interviewer's notes and publications and articles on the Old State Capitol and Executive Mansion restoration. Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1984, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Lowell E. Anderson Memoir I !coPYRIGHT @ 1987 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS. I iA!l rights reserved. No part of this work may he reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or lmechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any infonnation storage or retrieval system, without l permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708. Table of Contents Biographical Information . . . . . 1 Mrs. Richard Ogilvie •. • 2 New Roof on the Ex:ecut ive Mmsion. 3 • • • • • 111 • • . John M.lrray Van Osdel. . 4 Governor Ogilvie . . . . • 5 Funding for Restoration of the Executive Mansion. . . . . . • • 6 Floor of the Attic . . . . . . . . 9 Colors for Restoration . .10 Chandeliers....• . •.12 Governor Oglesby • . . .12 I<urni shings and Wallpaper. . .. tl 13 General Restoration. . . . . . . . "' . .22 Preface This manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by Melinda Kwedar for the Oral History Office on May 14, 1984. Linda Jett transcribed the tapes and Olester Rhodes edited the transcript. Lowell E. Anderson was born in North Dakota in 1921. Follcming \\brld War II Anderson received his B.A. and M.A. in decorative arts from Berkeley. In 1966 he was invited by the Abraham Lincoln Association to help ~th the restoration of the Old Sate Capitol. In this memoir he discusses the restoration work of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, Illinois. Readers of the oral histocyrmmir should bear in min::l that it is a transcript of the spoken word, and that the interviewer, narrator and editor sought to preserve the infonnal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangamon State University is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the memoir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. The manuscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamn State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62794-9243. ~~ -~----~ L_______..L______________________ Lowell E. Anderson, Springfield, Illinois, May 14, 1984. Melinda Kwedar, Interviewer. Q: we are going to talk about the restoration of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, Illinois and Lowell's involvement in that process. Lowell, I \\lmld like to start by asking you if you could tell rm about your educational and career background prior to the tline you carne to Springfield ruld became involved in projects here in this town. A: You want a biography? Q: A brief biography if we can do that, yes. A: You want it on tape? I have a writ ten one if you want one, Q: well, no. we'd like to get it on tape, too. A: I was born in 1921 in North Dakota. Ani my father was an Enployee of the federal government, worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And as a consequence was transferred fran North Dakota to other parts of the country fran tiroo to time. So I've lived in North Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico and finally in Illinois. My principal schooling took place in Berkeley, California where I received a BA and an MA in decorative arts. This was after Wbrld war II. And then I went to work for the University of Illinois in the Department of Home Economics and taught there for four years teaching decorative arts. I left the University of Illinois in 1957, went to w:>rk for an insurance canpany and sold insurance until 1966 when I was invited by the state historian to work for the Abraham Lincoln Association. I worked for them one year and then applied to the historical library to continue as curator of the work I had been doing for the Old State Capitol. Q: So you started out working for the Abrarum Lincoln Association on the Old State Capitol Building. A: Yes. Paid by than through their funds. Q: And what was your job in that year you WJrked for them? A: Collect infonnation about the Old State Capitol, find out what had been originally in the building and collect that material. If it was available for collection to get reproductions or antiques to replace them. And see that everything was historically accurate. Q: And you were to do this in one year for them? A: I went to oork Septanber 1, 1966 and the grand opening was to be February of 1968. A little less than a year and a half. So there was a lot of scurrying and a lot of night oork. 'lliere were times when I actually slept in the building I was working on. Q: I believe that. A: After the work on the Old Capitol was well along on its way to completion one of the regular visitors to the building was the ~fe of the governor, Mrs. Richard Ogilvie. And she cane to the Old Capitol frequently because she liked that kind of work. And one day she came to the State Historian, Mr. Al torfer, and asked him if she could borrow the two llBn who were responsible or the men that were responsible for the refurbishing of the Old Capitol. And he agreed. So Jim Hickey and l were loaned to the Executive Mansion to do the research. Mrs. Ogilvie took us over to the mansion and we walked up the driveway. And this was in Septarber. Very pleasant refreshing day if I remember correctly. Q: \\hat was the year at that time? A: 1968. And we walked up the driveway and here is this rather elaborate, large white building. And it looked quite inpressive. Walked inside and up the rectangular stairwell fran the ground floor to what is called the first floor and looked around inside the rooms. And on the first observation everything looked tremendously elegant. But on close exrunination it didn't happen to be the case. Walked over to the drapery and the curtains in the state dining roan. There were too dining roans at that time. A family dining roan on the west and a state dining roan on the east. And I checked the curtains in the state dining room and pulled them out and up away fran the radiator and they were all in tatters. Ncm the con(H tion of the mansion at any particular tilDe is not the fault of the first lady.She was always limited in the aroount of IIDney that was available for any kind of rmintenance in the wilding. And it was always a plea and a begging proposition. I remember one of the stories that we heard and it turned out to be very true. One first lady invited legislators to came for desert and tea and while these men were there she had the butler rap sharply on the walls and plaster would fall demo on the desert. And the legislators would say, 11 \\e have to do sCI'rething about this." Arxl they'd make a small appropriation to take care of that particular defect. And it seems that's the way all the repairs in the building were handled. Q: So that was her tactic to get their attention if something needed to be done. A: About the only way it'd work. So \W looked at the drapery and I looked up above the east fireplace in the state dining roan and there were what appeared to be rmssive beans going across the dining roon. Turned out these were fake. They were simply hanging on the ceiling to make it look impressive. The cornice around the roon was sagging. There were gaps between the cornice and the ceiling as nnch as tm inches in different places. There was a big down-swell in the dining roam ceiling and the fake bearm were all bent. So there had to be tremendous weight or architectural failure someplace in that building. And Mrs. Ogilvie informed Jim and me that a former committee doing research had spent some time there to roo.ke proiXJsals and spent a fairly large S1.JD of rooney and ca:re up with a brochure. And their conclusion was that the mansion was deteriorating dreadfully because of tennites. we asked to go up on the next floor, the second floor. And on the way up the stairwell I looked back at the railing that surrounded the stairwell on the second floor and there were, if I recall, twelve columns fran the ceiling to the railing and down to the floor. And they were sitting on top of the railing that was going arotmi the stairwell. I looked back along the railing. The railing was a solid piece of oood about the size of your thigh and it was bowed. ~up in the center and down where the colunns ~re resting on it. And all I could say to myself was, "Sanething wrong upstairs." So we asked to go up to the next level. So we went up to the next level which was the attic. Had to find a closet that had the opening and there was a stairs going up, rickety stairs, and we got up into the attic. And an amazing collection of junk up there. Fonner first ladies rather than go to the trouble of disposing of things that were unwanted through property control simply had the helpers in the mansion carry the stuff up into the attic. And there were, I counted 43 different kinds of chairs. And there may have been a 101 of these kinds. There VRre old dressers and cabinets, really junk pieces. There were draperies that were of no value or any good. There were air conditioners, screen doors and stonn doors and wind<JNs. And the collection of things was al100st three feet deep all over the attic floor. Also there was a strange-looking pile of tlinbers all fastened together in the center of the attic floor. It turned out this was the framework of the original cupola. Also the original roof had been removed and except for a small section on the south end where we found the markings of the size of the brackets that were nailed to the building and their spacing. So this was a clue that we used for restoring those. But the original roof was such a shallow pitch that the projecting cupola that projected through that roof didn't shed any water or shed enough. It was constantly leaking. SO in the late 1880s they slinply put a steep pitched roof completely over it and left the framework of the original cupola inside. Q: Just covered it all up? A: Yes. It's a technique that's very canmn today when they want to reroof saoothing. Just wild a new roof over the old one. So you don't have to tear anything out. But they wanted the space so they did take off the old roof, roost of it. And they supported the new roof by twelve, I think, 4 x 4 posts with T-bracing at the top. And these extended down to the attic floor. And they were supported on the attic floor by planks about two inches thick, ten inches wide and perhaps three feet long. Sort of a pad underneath. Later on in comparing different levels of the building, floor levels it turned out that these pads were not over any <!olu:ms, w:lre not over any supporting walls underneath. They were just resting on the attic floor. Then we noticed that there was nothing to support this old cupola. The original truss v.urk that was in the building to support the cupola had been cut out because it was in the way. Later on we asked Mrs. Ogilvie if she could have the attic:! cleared out and she said no problan. So they cleared that out. And I think they took out three to five van loads and I rrean big van loads of stuff to property control, worthless stuff. Q: All the furnishings? A: Yes. Unwanted stuff. And the only original piece of furniture that we fowxl in the wilding was tv.u chairs that belonged to Richard Yates II--that would be 1902. And they were still over there. Then further exrunination of the wilding in removing same plaster in various areas to see how the building was constructed, it turned out that carpenters had cut every single truss in the building to introduce the modern convenience kno.m as indoor plurbing. In other 'AOrds if your legs were broken you'd collapse. It's a wonder that building didn't because they had broken all the bones of the wilding. FortW1B.tely the building was constructed with two walls, an exterior wall of brick and an interior wall of wood and plaster. And there was a space in between anywhere fran four to six inches and this spacing was desirable at that time as a means of ventilation to overcane such things as miasnas, agues and fevers. \\e call them virus today. Did a pretty good job. Anyho.v. that's what we fotmd. ~ found an attic floor covered with urMallted materials which was reooved. And ~s. Ogilvie asked us if we thought that the building could be restored. So we said we' 11 have to think about it. Jim and I put our heads together and we talked several t iroos with Governor Ogilvie and we said we'd be real happy to do the job if it were feasible providing that he was the boss and we becarre his lieutenants and we would be in charge of the architects rather than the architects telling us what to do. And he agreed. Then I said, "To do this properly we need as-wi 1t drawings to tell us what the building looked like as it stands now. But I want a different set of architects to do that work and they are to have nothing to do with any bidding or v.urk different group." later on. They IlJ.lSt be an entirely Q: So why did you want that set of rren? A: Governor Ogilvie asked the sarre question. I said, "Because if the architects who do the as-built drawings became responsible for the restoration, they would use the as-built drawings to build any restoration work." And I said, "It wi 11 not be correct. It wi 11 simply be the way the building is ncm." And sure enough, the architects who came in later at our rec~.II~mndationwere inclined to use the as-built drawings as adequate. Said, "Tiley are not correct. They are not adequate. This is not the way the bui !ding looked originally." Q: When was the original building date for the Executive Mansion? A: The wilding was canpleted in 1855. The original architect's rume was John Mlrray Van Osdel, very po.[X.Ilar and successful Olicago archi teet in the 1850's. In fact, he was so good at his job that when the Chicago fire cam along, he didn't bother with any of his architectural drawings or anything else. \\hat he did was rush in and get his account lx>oks and buried them. After the fire, he dug up his account books and contacted his clients and said, ''We can do this again and you still CMl9 roo." And he was back in business. Q: I guess that fire did quite a bit for architects, didn't it? A: Oh, boy. He designed this building in 1853. And he sent the plans to Springfield. And I don't know if he ever saw the building. But there was a letter and a bill in the historical library for one dollar for transporting those plans to Springfield. Q: So do you have the original plans? A: No. Q: Are they still available? A: No. At that tilre blueprints were invented in England in 1840 and the technique was a little slow in crossing the ocean. But most draw1ngs at that time v.ere done on linen and one set of drawings was sufficient because they would post these and the craftsmen for different trades would cane and look at the original drawings, make their estimates and if they got the bid, would do their job. They all knew what they needed to knCM to do a particular kind of v.urk, whether it was rooking windoors, doors, whatever. And they had the dimmsions, they knew the amunt of materials they needed and so forth. They didn't have copies of the blueprints. And v.e do not either. The building was completed in 1855 and the first governor to occupy the building was Governor Joel Matteson, a ~althy businessrnn. And Governor Mltteson during his term of office had a mansion built for himself directly across the street on Fourth Street where the Baptist Church is now. And when he left office--oh, while he was in office he spent I think about $20,000 of his own money to furnish the Executive Mansion. And when he left office he took these furnishings with him to his new hane. Of course, that set a precedent for every subsequent first family. They brought in furniture for themselves and took it away with them. we found only one dish of the original furnishings for the IIIUlsion, one bowl. It's a mnder that anything survived because all dishes were done in a single sink in a butler's pantry. And there would be anywhere fran 20,000 to 40,000 irwited guests 1n a year for sit-down entertainment. Q: So where did you find the dish? A: It was tucked away in one of the cupboards. Q: Oh, in the kitchen still. A: Now, over a period of time they had developed a--oh, the first thing that I did when I went in there after we talked to Governor and Mrs. Ogilvie was to select a team of architects. And we selected the team of Graham, O'Shea, and Wisnosky because one of those architects had been working almost full time at the restoration of the Old State capitol and we thought that they had done real nice oork. So we used his finn to help us with the Executive Mmsion and we asked him to give us estimates on three different methods of oorking with that property. First was to--let me back up just slightly. Laws of the State of Illinois said that the governor must have his residence at the site of the Capitol, the city of the capitol. That meant that he had to live in Springfield. And so we asked this architectural finn to give us three est ir:rntes. The first was to sell the property and build somewhere else in Springfield- that was one alternative. Start new. The other one was to tear the wilding down, p.1t up a new wilding on that site. And the third one was to diana.ntle only the portions that were not original and restore the wilding. we considered the three different plans together and it turned out that we could have the restoration done for approximately $40,000 roore than a new wilding. Ncm that's pretty cheap history. Q: What were the figures involved in these? A: Oh, let's see. They're in this brochure here. Okay. General Assembly appropriated a total of slightly over three million dollars, I notice it's three million, fort~five thousand and same odd dollars and forty to forty-five thousand was what we were wying in terms of history. And those are the actual boards that Lincoln walked on. They are there. They haven't been taken out. So that's really cheap genuine history. And that's why this is called a rehabilitation and not just reconstruction, because it's the original building. Okay. Q: This architectural finn, were they the ones you hired to do What you called as-is drawings? A: As-wilt drawings. No. Q: You had were? a different finn do that before. IX> you r€fllEDlber Who they A: Yes. Let's see. I'll have to think about that. Turn it off for a minute and I'll see. Q: Okay. we' 11 cane back. A: \\ell, anyhcm, I'll have to give that name to you later. So with conferences with the governor and we decided that restoration was the proper approach to the problem. And so we asked the architects to select and prepare the drawings, prepare bids and so forth. In the rooant ime, while they were preparing the drawings, I was busy with Ml's. Ogilvie making various kinds of selections and research dealing with the interior furnishings that would have been available to the first families. One day in the middle of the winter we were trmping through that bli!ding and snow and ice and cold weather and the governor turned to me and just out of the clear blue said, "Wlat style of furniture are we going to have in this building?" And I dropped my roouth for a second and said, "English re~ency." Noo, English regency furniture had a life span of approxirmtely nine years and my first clue for detennination of English regency furniture was one of the two balconies that are on the north side of the Executive Mansion, they are pure E~lish regency. I didn't know at that thne whether they had been added by later people or hem they ~re applied to that wilding. It turned out they were part of the original building. When we started screwing around and finding early photographs of the building, they were always there and when we dug into the plaster mrk, we found that they were fastened originally to the building. The ground floor of the building was the domestic quarters for the kitchen help--and the kitchen--the maid, the gavdner, the furnace roan, and the laundry roan. There were two stairs going up fran that ground floor to serve the ~mals in the state dining roan and the family dining roon. Separating the two dining rooms was a hallway. The hallway could be partitioned off by four large sliding doors. End of Side One, Tape One A: .•• through research that Jim had done, ~ learned that these doors may have been painted red along ~th a lot of the other interior of the building. And one day we were--just before lunch--poked a hole in the wall next to the partitions of that little hallway and staring back at me was a red eye. So I called Mrs. ~ilvie and Jim back and we tore in a little farther, and sure enough, here were these great big sliding doors that had been shoved back in these pockets and left there. All they'ddone was taken the hardware off. \\\::!11, \W took than out and called the architects over and they were very nervous because they had already ordered the hardware for the replaceroont of such doors. And I asked than to bring over a Sllllple of the hardware. They did. And they put it on the place where the original hardware had been. It fit perfectly. They had made the right choice. But that was quite a bit later on in the garoo. \\e examined the wilding fran a nmber of viewpoints, to find out particularly if it really was tennites that were tearing the building apart. And we noticed that they were caning in in the corner of the building, the southeast corner by the original kitchen area. Vk followed their tubes through the building up underneath the stairwells into the ground floor. And they went up about six feet and then branched over into the decorative trim on the side of the stairwell. And that's where they quit. They were interested only in the icing on the stairwell. Sarething in there that was enticing then. They thought it was real delicious. It wasn't the six legged tennites that were tearing thi~ apart. It was the tWJ legged ones. Carpenters, putting in the plug. And in looking at the kitchen area, we detertnined that originally theyhad cooked on the fireplace on the east wall and over a period of thne, they had moved the kitchen stove area--the cooking area, I shouldn't saystove--the kitchen cooking area out into the kitchen in a series of approximately five different moves. You could see Where they would change the fireplace to add a steel plate or an iron plate on top and then enclose this part and add a well for hot water and gradually decide that the latest thing should be a stove out in the center. And this is the way it progressed. You could see this progression. Q: So they didn't have a stove originally in 1855? A: Nb. They cooked on a fireplace. And as the invitation list for guests gut larger and larger where they had to have more and more cooking area, they eventually added an addition to the back of the Mansion and it grew I ike topsey and in a series of stages. They put a large kitchen up in this addition. And then they added another kitchen area in the basement area with facilities for baking. And then they were apt to carry food fran these two kitchens to the dining roan, one on the same level and one below. So that was always fun. I rEillEilber one day going to call on Mrs. Ogilvie and I went around to the back of the Mtnsion. There's a porch area between the little addition and the original Mansion. And I normally go in that, but that particular day it was locked. The lock consisted of a hook on the door ins ide. That was the security. And I put my nose up against the screen and looked in and all over on the chairs and boxes and the crate here and there were little salads sitting around cooling. This was the cooler system for preparing gelatins. They had one refrigerator, how old that was I have no idea, but it wasn't the latest. The Legislature did not spend too nuch rooney on the Executive Mansion throughout the years. Only in desperation did they spend rtDney. Oh, each tiloo that the architects would came up with a set of drawings, Mrs. Ogilvie would pick up a set and begin to examine them. Now, when she first started looking at blueprints, she didn't know which side of the paper to look at. But within six weeks, she was able to locate errors on the architect's drawings. Very intelligent woman. Q: So how many sets of drawings did they need to do, do you know? A: Well, Jim and I WJrked on a schare whereby \W asked the Legislature to provide two years for funding. The total funding was to be split up into two different years because you couldn't get enough workmen all in that one space to do the job in one year. SO same of the legislators thought that ~ \Wre trying to pull a fast one and get the extra rooney. We were not doing that. Vie Y>ere simply trying to save the state rooney and~ did. In fact, we had the contracts broken up by the architects into pieces so that a bidder would have to bid on several jobs. And over a period of time, it proved to be very advantageous for us. Fran tinE to time, a contractor would cane in and say, "I've run out of rooney. I can't go any farther." I would say, "All right. You bid on the whole thing. Eliminate this part." So he w.mld have to continue with mat he already had. And as a result. there were no occasions of going back to the legislature for roore rooney. It was all done the first time around. That had never been done before. Usually it's a gravy train when people get a contract with the state, but not in this case. Q: was there trouble getting the appropriation bill through the Legislature? A: No. Yk had to rooet with the carmi ttee that was approving or disapproving the funding for the Executive Mmsion. And in that canni ttee there were two negative votes, one Danocratic and one Republican. They simply cancelled each other out. Q: Vtell, if they had a history though. of being so stingy with rooney for the Executive Mansion, how cam the clirmte was turned enough to get this big appropriation through at this thne? A: There were sam funds available for exQllining structures that belonged to the state, and this was used to rmke a survey of the Executive Mmsion. And we asked the archi tecta to bring in engineers. We told than where to look and they looked. \\e told than what might be wrong and they agreed. The first thing they did was say that the wilding was too weak to support a lot of people. SO they put T-braces in the basement and in the dining area to support the ceiling. And they said that crowds in the Executive Mansion would be llinited to eleven people at the most. And if they had that many people in there they were to stay close to the walls. The condition of the Mansion was because of lack of maintenance. It was so deteriorated that the ~ndows in Elizabeth's roan--the Ogilvie's daughter-had a gap at the bottom, one inch on one side and close on the other, 60 that air was caning in all the time. To be half-way warm in the ruilding, she had to have two electric heaters in there. There was one thermostat in the whole building. It was located in the governor's bedroom on the second floor, on the west side. When it was comfortable upstairs, it was boiling downstairs. There was no way to control the heat in that building. Let ID3 tell you that the first thing that \W did in there was that Mrs. Ogilvie asked to look at the building to see if it was the original wilding. Vie l.Wrtt over to the north windcw in the east parlor and looked at the casing. Took out a pocketknife 81Kl ran it down along the SeWl of paint and said, "There's a shutter underneath here that has been painted over and we'll open it up." And sure enough, peeled that paint off that strip, opened up that slrutter, and here was the original slrutters. I said, "It wi 11 be like this throughout the rest of the ~ndows." And they were. Q: Is that right? W9ll, isn't that nice. A: They had the early varnish on than. They weren't painted on the inside. They were simply varnished. They are painted Il()N because they look cleaner and easier to keep up. But they are the 68100 original shutters, and they're functioning shutters. Q: That's great. A: Very pleasant. Q: Those are the kinds of finds that make these jobs really rewarding, isn't it? A: (h, yes. O:le thing we found when we examined that attic upstairs, we said, "This attic is in bad shape. want to string a line fran one wall to the other, north to south, and then we'll check the drop at different places along this line." And sure enough, the center of the attic floor dropped six inches. I took same stereo photographs of the wall at the north side of the building where there were same floor joists sliding away fran their support and because of this extra weight of the attic floor. Normally they would have three to four inches of bearing. At that time, they had about three-quarters of an inch bearing. And Mrs. Ogilvie asked rre what I was doing. I said, "Looking at the floor here." This is when I suggested that she move this stuff out of the attic. I didn't dare tell her what was happening to the floor in the attic because her bedroon was directly below there. And if we had bounced up and downt we'd go right on down into her bedroan. Q: \\hat . . . do you know if there was any real nnjor restoration oork done on the building, certainly between the tline it was built in 1855 and this ..• A: They added the roof and then around 1900, they changed the stairs. And instead of having what they called a circular stairwell, they used a right angle geometric stairwell. It actually was not a circular stairwell. It was elliptical. And elliptical stairwell. Q: That's the way it is now, right? A: Right. First clue on this thing I said, "Wa should be able to find sane threshold rmrks sane place." And sure enough, Mrs. Ogilvie took a flashlight --where the doorway should have been, there was a wall there leading fran the ground floor to the first floor leading into the family dining roan--she put her flashlight down on the floor and there 'Was a series of tack marks in the arc. And this arc was not the arc of a circle. And so this began to help us establish the fact that it was an elliptical stairwell. And they had wall to wall carpeting at that tline. A lot of people think this is something new, wall to wall carpeting. Later on, several mmths later, after the plaster of the ceiling came down, you could see where cornice trlin fonned an ellipse in the ceiling. And in the rreant ime, we had to detennine whether or not it really was an ellipse or whether it was a circle or just what it was. And if you have an ell ipse, you have two centers called foci. And so I came hane one night and thought, "We've got to figure where those foci are. They can't be that canplicated." So I just took two rectangles, different sizes but with the same base, and drew their diagonals and where the diagonal of the large rectangle intersected the diagonal of the smaller rectangle formed two points, and could be used as the foci of an ellipse. And it struck me, "Yes, that's exactly what they did." The next day we \Wnt back and we found two holes in the floor, the subfloor, where they had put dowels for these foci. Drawn with a taut string going all the way down. (tape stopped) There are all kinds of things that have to be done at once before you can proceed with anything else. That's the way :restoration is. So you rrake some educated guesses. For instance, we had to knCJN the colors of the building, and we had to know what style of furniture to put in. We had to know what to do with the first family when they IIDVed out while restoration was in process. Wa had to salvage furniture that was suitable for retention. One of the things that I did on the paint was go around and chip off chunks of paint fran underneath the window sills, because it doesn't weather there like it does on upper surfaces. And of course, painters always paint underneath a window sill. And I'd get a chunk maybe four or five millirooters thick, and by careful scraping with high pcmer glass magnification, we scraped off 27 coats of paint. Q: Is that right? A: Of course, the colors were very interesting. The colors that were available to them at that tune. And they're all lead-base paints with an oil vehicle and then a color pigment added, And this was the source of the colors that are used here now. Going on with the furnishings: the style that was most appropriate for the building I had mentioned to Governor Ogilvie as being English regency. But was that the case, should they be English regency? I started really researching in depth. It turns out that the Mansion designed by Van Osdel was a Victorian facade with a Georgian plan, which was canron at that time. But the decor on the inside was different. Q: So the Georgian plan you mear1 is a roan layout? A: Right. The man that was going to do the v.urk here in Springfield, construct the building, didn't like what Van Osdel had done. He felt that since this was to be the home of the Illinois governor, it should represent stability, stre~h. and follow the Federal Government style of architecture Which was Grecian and Hanan. And because the Greek revival was all the rage at that tline, he turned the interior into Greek revival. And so you have a Victorian facade, a Georgian plan, and a Greek revival interior. And fortunately, when you put it all together, this is ideally suited to the English regency. Q: Why is that? A: It just happens to be that way. Like Buckinghtm Palace--I learned later--is all English regency with the Greek revival interior. Q: So they would rrdx up all these architectural styles. A: Now, another reason for selecting the English regency furniture is--there are several. It's very substantial furniture. It has considerable bulk, mass to it. And it has held up. It represents governnent because of the style that's used. It's very durable, very colorful. Q: So you think that this is the style of furniture they w:mld have had in 1855? A: Very possible they never had any of it, Q: Right. Because each governor had his own. A: That's right. And each governor and each first lady wanted the latest style. And that style was already out of style. Q: So in deciding this, you did it in tenns of what you felt was compatible with the age, the tline and style? A: The decor--that's right--of the building itself and the thne. Now, if we had put in furniture that was sui table for each occupant of the Mansion, you might as well left all the junk that was in thel"e. Q: Take it down fran the attic. A: That's right. Because it was nothing. The stuff in the attic was late forties. Q: \\ell, those lll18t have been things that even they didn't care to rmve out, right? A: That's right. It was junk. Q: Each governor, instead of rmving it, they just put it up there. If they'd have though it was any good, they VK>uld have taken it with than, wouldn't they? A: That's right. So there's nothing of consequence in the attic except the tremendous load. In fact, it was so heavy that it began to deflect the floors and ceilings in the areas below. To level the floors--on the second floor of this stairwell, scrrebody had the bright idea of, "~ll, let's JUSt level it." So they poured in four inches of concrete which added more ~ight. They sirrply ~re adding agony to a pain that was already there. Q: So the architects that you all selected, did that sean to work out pretty well? A: (h, yes. Q: Did you have proble:ns with th en in any way, or they with you? A: No. \\e had a rooeting once a ooek with the gentlanan fran the governor's office Who was in charge in finances, and any problem that was there, we ?.Uuld say, "Okay, this person or that person is the architect." Jim, the contractor, general contractor, the fiscal officer for the state, and I were there. That was it. And if a problan arose that needed to be resolved so the work could progress, the financial officer said, "Okay, you look into this. You get that thing resolved. Take care of it so \\'Ork can progress." And as a result, things went very snoothly. They really did. I ranember we had one upsetting moment w1th electrical contractors. They came in and said that they should hang the chandelier in the south roan, should hang the three chandeliers. These were very expensive chandeliers rmde especially for the Mansion. And we said, "Yes, you rmy hang than, but you'll need a bond of $100,000." That's money they didn't want to spend. So they had second thoughts and decided that we could unwrap them just as well as they could. Q: I'm sure that ?.Uuld have been a real problem for any kind of danage that they w:mld have done to the chandeliers. A: So we approached the furnishings of this ooilding just like we had done for the Old State Capitol, except that we asked one particular antique finn in New Orleans to be our repository and collector for things we wanted. \\e asked Manheim's in New Orleans and they agreed to do that. We v.orked with Mr. Brode. Q: Mr. Brooe at the Manheim place? A: Yes. "": So you gave them orders saying, ''We want this English regency style and we need desks and chairs and so forth." You gave the:n a list of the specific itans that you wanted. A: Yes. That's correct. \\e had a rmster plan on the i tans and \t\lhere they were to go and this was acquired through looking at literally thousands of illustrations of that style of furniture and which pieces would be most appropriate, and going by inventories, particularly two handwritten inventories done by Governor Oglesby. Q: So he had taken an itwentory of the furnishings that he had there at the t irre and drawn it? A: No, he hadn't drawn it. He'd written it down. Q: Oh, I see. \\hen was that tilre period, do you kncm? \\its he Civil War or sanething like that? A: Oglesby. Yes, I just (noise) Q: Good. A: Governor Oglesby occupied the Mansion in 1865. Q: Okay. To what? A: To 1869. Q: Okay. A: And then he cane back again in 1873 for a very short period of time, and then again in 1885 through 1889. Q: I didn't realize there was such a big gap in his terms. Do you kncm when the account was writ ten? A: It was during his first tenn of office. Q: Oh. His first tline. A: Yes. And each of the expressions that he used in writing about the itEmS v.ould be, "badly used up, WJrn out," or whatever it was. But he would use that kind of expression to describe the piece of furniture and whether it had horsehair or red plush or this sort of thing. And he made the sane sequence and tour for the two separate inventories. SO he had a pretty good idea of where the roo:ns ~re located and h<JN they were used. Q: So the roans had been changed around End of Side Thu, Tape One Q: we're going to start by talking about the collection of the furnishings for the Executive Mansion. So, Lowell, WJUld you like to start by telling us how the furniture was collected for the Executive Mmsion? A: Okay. The choice was based on what oould be appropriate for the design of the interior of the wilding, and we had detel'mined that the wilding was, as I said before, Georgian plan with a Victorian facade and a Greek Revival period interior. Thomas Dennis, local architect/contractor, was not happy with the design that Van Osdel had prepared for the interior of the building and he though it WJuld be rrore appropriate to use a classic design. So he revised the interior. The going style, actually going out of style, of Greek Revival. And as a result, you see long petalled leaves in the columns of the capitals and fluted columns. we did find one place in the northeast parlor where the cornice still remained intact, and also all the support material for this cornice provide what is known as a birds-beak cornice. Aixl this was used as the pattern for the remainder of the building. Also, upstairs in one of the little corner bedroans on the southeast corner of the wilding, there ~re window treatments and other treatments that had a shallow pediment over then. And this was original to the wilding and this was again used for patterning for the over-door and over-window treatment for the rest of the t:uilding. Coincidentally, W3 found--on a trip to New orleans in search of furniture--in a cabinet that we selected, I opened up this cabinet full of drawers and there were tv.u books in there. And I asked the dealer if he was interested in keeping the books, and he said no. "How rruch do you want for then?" Said, "Oh, forty dollars is fine." And there were two volumes of the American Architect by Ranlett, R-A-N-L-E-T-T. And in these tv.u texts--1848 I believe, and 1861 or something like that--it showed both styles of the architecture that had been developed for the Mills ion. The early one with the cupola projecting through the shallCMT pitched roof and the later one ~th the steep pitched roof that had been added. Q: It was our capitol in that . . . A: In the Mmsion. There were very similar designs in these tY.U books. So this was one of the reasons that we left the steep pitched roof on the Nansion rather than take it back to the original appearance. Because it was still applicable. Q: So it was those two styles that you found in this architecture book. It wasn't our specific t:uilding. A: No. Q: What were the dates on the magazines? A: About 1848. Q: So it was prior to that one being built. I see. A: And at that ti.roo, architects were always busy copyi.r:g fran one another and I'm trying to think of the source of the original design for those capitals. It carne fran Stewart and Revitt's book AntiJPities of Athens printed about 1763. And just off hand I can't think o the rume of the • But anyhow, we bought these two books for forty dollars and they're gorgeous things. And they had designs for the colums and the birds-beak cornice and the whole thing right in there. So I'm sure our friend, Joel Matteson, had access to this set of texts, and also Thomas Dennis. Q: And who was Tham.s Dennis? A: Thomas Dennis was the local contractor/architect that was to do the construction of the Mansion. Q: Originally, in 1853? A: Yes. And the local bricKmaker got the commission for doing the bricks, fonning the bricks and making than. Arxi they're very proud of these bricks. They are a little different size than nonnal bricks. In fact, bricks at that tline were made to suit the customer, not any particular standard size. And then the joints between the laying up of the bricks was very thin; it was called the tutter joint. with very fine sand and a lot of mortar, lUne mortar. I guess maybe they used Portland cement. Anyha.v, I guess we were talking about the furniture weren't we? ~: Yes. A: Started out. Easy to get sidetracked on this. Q: I knCMT 1t. The reason the interior plan, the original plan was for it to have been a Georgian interior? A: It was to be Victorian. Q: Victorian interior to go with the Victorian facade. A: But Thams Dennis changed it to the Greek Revival interior, which is very classic in character. Q: Wl.y did he do that? A: Because of the feeling that this was a governnent wilding and governoont buildings at that time were following the classic pattern. There's a great deal of public following of the efforts of Greek people at that t irne to create their own independence. And so this was a natural follcm-up. In fact, if you check the communities around the state of Illinois, you will see that a lot of them have chosen Greek names for their communities. Athens, Greece was known as Athens here. [pronounced differently] There were numerous communities with Greek names. This is all part of that following of the struggle for Greek people to get their <Mn independence at that t irne. And so Thcma.s Dennis decided that since he was going to be in charge, he was going to make a Greek Revival interior. That's what he did. And the furniture that was to go in it needed to match that style of interior and actually the only style that was compatible, really carpatible, was the English Regency. Na.v, the people that were really responsible for helping set up this furniture buying arrangement was known as the Executive Mansion Association. Jlin Hickey, Mrs. Ogilvie and her close friend, Hope 1\t!Connick, and a couple of v.urxlerful people in Springfield, Mrs. Benjamin Victor DeVera, and then Margie Van Meter. And they set up an association called the Executive Mansion Association, modeled after the same one for the White House, to provide funds for purchasing furnishings for the l\1ansion to be on-going so that it would be a means of preparing and rmintaining these furnishings. One additional factor was very irrportant. That is that this association v.ould be made up of a cross section of the citizens of Illinois. The furnishings themselves would belong to the citizens and not to the legislature. And if the legislature decided if they wanted to move the governor fran that building, put hlin elsewhere in the city and turn the building into a series of offices, why the association, since they owned the furnishings, v.uuld take thEm all out and p.It them wherever they wanted to. In other words, those things do not belong to the state. They belong to the association. Even the wallpaper on the wall. They had it plasticized so that it could be taken off. Q: Is thAt right? A: And it's highly unlikely that the legislature will tinker with that association or destroy the development of that. Q: well, what a stroke of genius then, a creation of that association. Whose idea was that? A: That's JUn's. Q: So was there a precedent for that? A: The White House. Q: Oh. A: Modeled after the White House. Q: And we citizens of the United States owned the furnishings of the White House? A: That's right. Q: Is that right? A: Yes. They're guarded and patrolled by a staff at these locations. but they belong to the citizens. Then when we were examining the wilding, I made various suggestions to Mrs. Q5ilvie. One of than was that in the basement rooms on the north side, it's possible that we might find evidence of wallpaper in there under sane old plaster. And sure enough, when a section of the plaster was removed, behind the old plaster they did find same very delicately tinted pattern wallpaper with blue, pink little flowers and decorations appropriate to that particular tline. Actually, during that period of time, the ITJJst popular fonn of decoration was a lot stripes, lot of pastels and a rainbow of colors. So checking again with the period styles, particularly the English Regency and slightly prior, we carre across the drapery styles. Q.ti te elaborate with fine rmterials and a lot of color. Fringes, tasseling, all real elegant. Right from the beginning, Jim and I had decided that if we were going to restore the Mansion, it ought to be a showplace. That Chicago is not the capitol of Illinois, but Springfield is. And that the heads of state, if they're entertained in this state, should be entertained at the capitol site which is what you expect or would expect if you were a dignitary going to a foreign country. You'd want to be entertained at the capitol city, not sorne other city whether it's large or small. So the Executive MBnsion has to be restored with real elegance. And we raised the funds. \\\::! weren't going to spare ~expense. And fortunately for us, the Executive Mansion Association did supply a lot of interest and generated the funds that were necessa~ to make the money necessary to decorate the building as it should have been done. And they're still working, they're still in existence. And I hope they continue indefinitely. well, one of the things they did was get groups of ladies fran different communities together and have a series of entertainments of various kinds to raise funds and these ftmds ~re designated to be fran a particular city, such as Quincy or Springfield or Kankakee. And speaking of that, I remember I had checked in Olicago at one t irre the proper wallpaper for one of the roans. And the wallpaper was going to cost about five thousand dollars for this one roan. It was a hand-blocked Fl"ench wallpaper, about 1840. But we didn't have any money at the time, and I told the proprietor to hang onto the stuff because the day was caning--they Vt.Ould have the rooney and we'd like to buy the wallpaper. well, two years later the ladies of Kankakee came up ~th a check for slightly over seven thousand dollars and they gave it to Mrs. Qsilvie to spend for the Mmsion. And I took this mmey and called the Olicago shop. The price of the wallpaper had gone up to seven thousand dollars. So we bought it. And then ~ got it back here and looked it over. And this was when we decided M needed to do something to protect all the furniture. So I took this wallpaper back to Chicago to have it plasticized on both sides so that we could take it off the wall if necessary to repair the walls or in case the legislature wanted to rmnkey with the wilding and turn it into offices. Q: So how was it attached then? A: It's attached with wallpaper paste on the wall. But the local craftanan who was going to do the v-urk had never handled this kind of expensive wallpaper before. And since it's hand-blocked the figures, the bright colors, the various scenes from early America did not match on the trhn 1ines. And he was very nervous. He had been wallpapering for forty years. That was his profession. And he said, "Hon an I going to put this stuff up here?" I said, "Just like you always do." He said, "It doesn't rmtch." I said, "Only concern you need to have is that the horizon line must match. All the other figures and things, you won't notice than but you must match the horizon line." That's what he did, and it worked perfectly. The figures may be a little disjointed where they care together on the strips of paper, rut you don't notice that because you're looking at the horizon line. Q: Which roan is this wallpaper in? A: This wallpaper is in the ladies sitting room on the second floor, the north center part of the building directly above the north porch. Q: Wly do you have a ladies sitting roan? A: The ladies sitting room was a designated place for the ladies to retire to after the guests had had their tneal, and the gentlemen would retire to a different room for their brandy and cigars. The ladies would go up to this other roan to avoid clash of personalities and aooke or whatever. And of course, when you're picking colors for the roan, you'd better pick sanething that's going to go with the rmterial that you have in that roan. And since the wallpaper was the daninate color in the roan, we chose certain of these colors to be the background for the drapery material. The draperies the last time I looked was based on one of the women's dresses. It was a tangerine, very handsome stuff. Q: What about the carpeting? A: The carpeting was designed to incorporate the palm leaf that's in the capital of the columns and then to add the Illinois oak leaf. And the wool for this came fran ... it came fran Australia. And it was made in Pe1U1Sylvania, mven in Pennsylvania. And I think we had a disaster with the first weaving of this. It washed out in one of the floods at that t i.rm:, and they had to redo it again. And when it carre just shortly before the Walker inauguration, the only people we could get to lay the carpet in the eleventh hour you might say, was the ~nnonites, who were very cheerful in their v.ork. And they ~rked on the ~ekends for us, and the carpet was unrolled right ahead of the T.V. cameras. I mean literally. The Walker family was in there the first night of the inauguration ceremonies. There was no carpet on the elliptical stairwell, an:l when they caroo down the steps, you could hear them clipping and clopping. Q: The year on that muld have been what, 1974? A: Ch, let's see. In 1973. Q: Yes. He was elected in 1972. So you selected the wallpaper and draperies and the carpeting before the furniture . A: Ch, yes. Q: . was purchased or selected? A: And the wallpaper in the dining roan, it's new a single dining roan, it 1 s a real luxurious state dining roan n.c.:m. The wallpaper was selected or made specifically for that roan by Scalaroooory Silk. And I don't ha.ve the nane right ncm of the gentlena.n in Olicago who helped us at the time, members of the American Association AID, Architects and Interior Designers, but they found the shops in Cbicago that ~uld put together the drapery IMterial that I designed. And the wallpaper--they found Scallm>ndry Silk for us to do the wallpaper. In fact, we had to send the sample that they prepared for us back to their shop three tlines to get the right color. It's a really nice wallpaper because it's yellow, yellow roses, a moire backgroWld with flocking and it's treated so that if scroobody splashes gravy on it they can wipe it off. Very handsane paper, real wide stripes again. Draperies in the various rocms ~re designed after English copies and it was fun to prepare the designs for the draperies because the drapery rmnufacturers here had really not done any of that kind of elaboration before. And same of the draperies were separated by a fireplace, aul they wanted to kna.v hCMT they could ITllke it look right. I said, "You make as though it was just one big wide window and you cut it in half and put those halves on either side of the fireplace and it'll look right when it's done." And they hadn't seen this possibility before. But it is a lot of fun to v.urk with sam thing like that. see your sketches materialize and actually became reality. Q: I can imagine. So what about the furniture 1tself? Did you go on trips to ruy . . . A: Vk selected Manheim Galleries in New Orleans as our supplier and gathering point for the furnishings. They were excellent, extremely helpful in finding things that we wanted. W:l did give them a list of the pieces of furniture arxl the styles that we were looking for. And they were very faithful to keeping within that particular style. In fact, we had a couple of friends fran England, by the name of Mr. Frank Bly and his son, John, who are antique dealers of international repute. Been in the antique business for three or four generations. And they carne over to the United States by invitation to give a speech to communities in the north end of Olicago. And we becarm acquainted w1 th then there, and we asked them to check to see if we were doing the right thing for that particular period, since they were experts in the antique world. And they said our selection of furniture was correct and they were anazed that the work was progressing as rapidly as it did. They said in England it would take ten years to complete what we did in two. Q: Is that right? Why would it be so much longer there? A: Different kinds of incentives, I guess. I don't know whether it was roonetary or what. But they said the v.ork v.uuld progress rruch roore slowly in England than it did here. Q: Did you get all your furniture through this dealer in New Orleans? A: Yes. Q: So, they would find the pieces for you and then they would contact you and you v.uuld go to see them? A: That's right. ~11, they gathered it all together. we only made I think tw::~ trips to New-Orleans for this furniture. But, you see, we knew what we wanted, how many pieces we could handle. And in fact, on one of the trips down there--let's see, I went by myself once. Mr. Frank Brode worked for Manheim' a then. He said, "You should ruy these mirrors. They're the right period." I said, "I knCM. I'd love to have thEm, blt we have nornmey. 11 He very graciously said, "Well, we will set thEm aside. They' 11 be the smm price in the futut'e they are right nCMT. 11 So I said, ''Well, go ahead and do it. I'm sticking my neck out, because \re have no 100ney. 11 And eventually we got the nxmey through the Association and bought the mirrors. And of course, all the pieces in there~-they are antiques--have appreciated in value tremendously. In fact, one of the-we bought two round tables that are in the . . . one in the west parlor and one in the east parlor of the first floor--and as soon as they were paid for or we had the rooney ~ paid for thEm, and about four hours after we had paid for than, Mr. Hickey got a phone call fran a decorator in Texas who wanted to ruy them for twice what we'd paid for then. That was in 1972. See, they'd already appreciated in value linnediately. He wanted than for a bank that he was decorating in Texas. There's no use selling than, you can't find them there. one of a kind. Arxl we were very lucky in the source of suppliers and in the things that were selected were correct and very handsome. Q: So you had a plan and you knew exactly how many pieces you needed? A: Yes. The building ~11 hold only so many pieces of furniture. You get too many, it starts getting in the way. Really, the only pieces of furniture that are not antique--in that building--historical are the dining roan chairs. Very difficult to find thirty of forty loo~alike chairs that are antique. They used to make than in sets of lrunclreds look-a! ike . . . End of Side One, Tape '1\vo A: The reason they made so many is because it was roore convenient to move furniture in and out this way. It was cheaper to buy the single chairs rather than strung together to make a couch or settee. And much more flexible in their use because they could spread then around the sides of the roan for dancing, clear the floor area and the ladies could sit in the chairs. And then they could use these same chairs in the dining roan. So they had quantities of then. By the way, one of the interesting things that W'.:! found with the chairs at the tiroo was what they called a hall chair. Just an ordinary side chair w1thout any anms and would be padded on the seat with a little square of material that had ribbons in the corners that could be tied down. And if you wanted a little more elaboration, you would turn the little pad over and it would be fancier on the other side. Sunday, I guess. Q: So you could have your choice of the everyday or the better. A: So there are hall chairs there also. The look-alike chairs in the dining roan that ~ picked out and roodeled fran the old Capitol and sent that d<Mn to Manheim's in New Orleans and they reproduced that to make enough of the dining roan chairs for us. And ~ \\QUid have liked to have had real needlepoint on the upholstery rut they were caning and it would be awfully expensive so selected a llllterial that was Belgian material that looked very nuch 1ike needlepoint. And 1 t had a wide pattern in the seat and narrower pattern of the sam style in the back. Arxl the Manheim people (noise). And used the ~de with the large pattern with the small pattern on the seat and threw the rest away. And said, "No, use wide and narrooandwe'll alternate the chairs." And again, there's just this difference. It makes it very interesting. When I talk about furniture you have to knoo how to place the furniture in the roan. The dining roan for instance, where these chairs were going to be placed we found an extranely large rectangular table, antique, rut it needed an additional pedestal and leaf to rmke it long enough for our needs. And \o\E took an antique table and redid it so that it would match the pedestals and leaves of the existing table. And there are two pantries leading into that dining roan fran the south. And Wl.en the table is fully extended it's about thirty feet long I think. That's as long as same small houses. And when it's fully extended I asked the l:.utler. I said, "Now how much space do you need between guests so you don't clip their ears when you're passing a tray?" And he spread out his hands and said, "About this nuch space." [I said,] "Hold it." And I rooasured it. And that's the distance we used. So I measured that distance. And that's the spacing that we used for placing the chairs. Q: So how many chairs are there in the dining roan? A: If I remember correctly, there are I think 29. I don't know why 29. Maybe it's that we got 29. ~ bought an extra chair so m would have a spare in case sarething happened. And then the location of the dining roan table determines where people are going to sit and the people at the ends of the table, of course they're going to be a long way apart and they don't want chandeliers hanging over their heads When they're eating, directly over them because it doesn't feel very comfortable. And the architects had designed the roan with the chandeliers evenly spaced. There are three of them. Waterford chandeliers evenly spaced on the ceiling. And I said. ''Well, we stick the dining roan table underneath the chandeliers where you have them located. the people at the ends will be directly under those chandeliers. So let's do it this way." And we redesigned the ceiling so that the moldings are a little different and the chandeliers are not directly over the end people. Q: So they're beyond the ends of the table? A: No. They're inside, within the table area. Q: I see. I would never have thought of that. A: well, when you're thinking of an interior like that, you've got to think in tenns of people that are going to be there, the mechanics of the building. The furnishings have to be secondary. This of course, determined the color schere. The color schaiE had to be such that when the ladies came into the building with their elegant gowns, they became the focus point and not the furnishings. So the color schemes are this soft, the pastels. there's lots of yellows and creams and whites so that any other colors will look good against this. That you look at peoples' clothes, particularly V\Uilen, when they are high fashioned. They do wear bright colors, real bright colors. And this looks good against that kind of backgTound. And that's why the carpet is that color. Q: Was the carpet the sarm color throughout the bli I ding? A: Yes. You have to have sarething that moves through the whole building the sarre. Then you have sarnthing in each roan that can be copied in the next roan. So you have these things moving. The colors roove roan to roan. And unless you're told this, you don't realize what's happening. Q: Was that part of the English Regency design? A: No. This is just good design. Q: What color is the carpet? A: It's gold and beige. Q: Is there anything more you can think to tel I us about the furniture and collection of the furniture? A: well, that particular style of furniture for instance, there are distinctive marks to it. For instance, the legs on the sides of the mirrors or on the tables or chairs are tapered to a smaller end at the bottan and there's a squared half section. And you frequently have Inman feet at the bot tan of the leg, or a foot. lhen sanetimes below that would be a lion's paw, an animal foot. Usually a hairy pawed lion's foot. At the top would be the carotid or the hurmn head. This is very typical of the English Regency. There's a tenn for that particular style. I don't remember What it is. If you look at the rrrlrrors for instance, you'll see that. You'll see that in the number of the chairs. You'll see that in the tables. The wood in the furniture is very exotic. A lot of rare ooods were used in canbinations. They used a line, very flat curve, JUSt a gentle curve, and anination a sharp inturning curve at the end of this shallow curve. Same of the cabinets show this across the top of the doors. They use a lot of metal inlay, called boulle. Again wide stripes. In fact, we had trerrendous problans getting fabrics and wallpaper that had the wide stripes. One of the bedroans on the second floor east side had wallpaper made with the wide stripes, and it came and I was horrified because it was so short in the lengths. And then I realized that we had the shallow, not very high wainscott with a chairrail and then a rather deep cornice, and the wallpaper would fit very nicely in that space between the cornice and the chairrail with about three inches left over. And so we lucked out again. Q: I'm looking here at the floorplan that's in addition of the dispatch that you've given me, and itemized here, there are 17 different rooms. So were you involved in the furnishings for all of those with maybe the possible exception of the last one that says the private family quarters? \\ere you involved in decorating and furnishing all those 16 other rocms? A: Yes. Q: Okay. A: Also part of the fwnily private quarters. Q: Oh, is that right. A: But of course, this was Mrs. Ogilvie's choice. Same of the first ladies have done their own could do what they wished. thing. If they're priva te quarters, they Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the modern addition that was added? were you involved in that at all? A: \\ell, we asked the governor to give us an estimate of what the needs VtUuld be for using the Mmsion as an office. And so a portion of the original building has been turned into an office and the secretary's area. That's on the ground floor. ArKl then the wilding has been arranged so that the total area is almost once again as large as it was originally, doubled the size of the Mansion. And the interaction of the spaces makes it possible for five different kinds of meetings to go on aUnultaneously without interfering with one another through the various doorways and halls that are available. So that people in these different meetings can work without interfering with another party. And it 1 s very helpful I'm sure, to the governor to be able to take advantage of this. Q: was the addition part of the original three million [dollar] appropriation? A: It's all there. Q: Okay. So that's the total for both the restoration work and the new addition. A: Right. Q: Okay, I think that yesterday we talked about the architect that did the as-built drawings. Did you find the name of that person or finn? A: Yes. The architect's name that did the as-built drawings was~Ralph M>rriset. Q: He was not the one involved in the restoration though? A: No. Q: Or the new building. A: Another thing we had done before the building was dif:IIlBiltle and plaster changes IIltde and so forth. We had !Vh'. Richard Nichols of Chicago cane down and photograph the building. And there's beautiful black and white photographs of the interior. And about six meks after that, he was killed in an accident in Chicago photographing old buildings that were being demolished. Q: I'm sure that there were people here in Springfield, civic leaders of various sorts, involved in this. So can you tell us anything about those people, I mean the ones that were involved if that's the case? A: The people that were involved in the structure itself? Q: Structure and collection of furnishings and so forth. A: Oh. I gave you the narms of the principles involved with the E:xecut ive Mansion Association. I can tell you one of the things that happened after the building was finished before there were--the furnishings were in place. I was still down in New Orleans and Ogilvie had not been reelected, but they wanted to give a party. And Mrs. Ogilvie insisted that the first people that were to be entertained there were to be the mrjqrnn. And it was a delightful party with the large, hard-mrking craftanen and their wives and friends. It was a \\Underful party. Q: So they were the people that were involved in WJrking on the Mmsion itself? A: Doing the actual craftwork of the building. The carpenters, the rmsons, glazers. Q: Did you have trouble finding people to do ''historic craft v.ork", 1ike some of the moldings or any of those kinds of things? A: No, because the rmdels were there. And there mre a nurber of craftanen in the community who had been working on the Old State Capitol acquainted with the needs and dana.nds of that kind of work. Q: was there a lot of that plaster molding or what kinds of decorative interior work was there? A: Yes. They had a plasterer. His first name is Paul. I can't think of his last name. Paul was real intrigued ~th the molding on the, around the ceiling, front door on the north side of the first floor. He had been v.orking for many years with plaster moldings. And roost of thffil were curves, difficult ones that ~re for curves that would start fran the center and you work on a radius making circles, for instance, such as were in the dining roan and south roan of the Mmsion. But this was the first t i.rra that he had and opportunity to \\Qrk on one that was curving away fran the w:>rkrren in the fonn of an ellipse. This was the front door. Q: \\ell, I thought, Lowell, I would ask you in retrospect here wf th your vantage point of twelve or more years, is there any kind of reflective statements that you would like to make about either things you have done or not done, or people around you and decisions that they made and how you think they v«>rked out? A: I think the v«>rk that has been done has been go00 and it has been about as thorough as the tiroo would allow. And the use put to these structures has been perhaps more than expected. I knCM that the Executive MBnsion was intended to accommodate and entertain literally tens of thousands of people a year. And it has held up rffilarkably well for that particular service. Landscaping in the yard I had est itmted muld take twenty to twenty-five years if the original plan had been followed. And it's caning along nicely. '!he trees are growing, the fl~rs are growing. I think that the Association needs to do sane Ill)re work in tenns of generating funds because the original carpet now really should be replaced. I think they've replaced same of the elliptical stairwell carpeting. we originally had enough carpeting made to replace it once. Twice the anount that was originally needed, and when that's gone it will be a chore. They' 11 probably have to go to a synthetic. The mol carpet is quite wonderful. I'm surprised that it has help up as long as it has because I remember some of the earliest gatherings in the Mansion, subsequent to the mrkmm. The workmen were very careful of everything in the building, extremely careful. They did not touch the woodwork, they didn't touch anything where the fingerprints could be left or danage could be done. And yet, in the sophisticated parties that came later, I have seen rren and w:xnen drop lighted cigarettes on the carpet and put them out with their feet. And inadvertently spill food on the floor and kick it under the table. These are supposed to be refined people, but not necessarily. So I will say it's surprising that some of this stuff lasts as long as it does. Particularly same of the more delicate antique furniture. Fortunately, one of our choices in the English Regency was it was a very durable and sturdy furniture and this has prcwed to be the case. Q: People do use all the furnishings, right? A: Oh, yes. It's the governor's hare, and he can use it as he wishes. But sane of the guests are not always as couth as they might be. But when you're dealing with a large cross section of the--I remember one of the luncheons that was held there, a group of about t~ lnmdred ladies were in the south roan, and the south roan, or course, is nothing but a large roan to be used for multi-purposes, concerts, lectures, whatever the first frunily decides to use it for. And these ladies were seated there eating a very nice luncheon prepared by Marge .Dcmling and her staff. And one of the ladies said, "Wl.at to you use this roan for? 11 And all Jim and I could do was gTin because they were using it for that purpose right then. They were eating lunch there. That was one of the purposes. But the Mansion is large and it hopefully will satisfy the needs for the first frunily for a good many years to came. Q: were you involved at all in any kind of a social way after the initial-~ hem long a t iim period was that that you were irrvolved. how many years? A: Oh, until about . . . we worked through the Walker administration, and then I stayed with the Executive Mansion Association for I think about the first year of the Thompson administration. Q: So that w.mld be A: Then I resigned. Q: When was that? A: Good question. Around 1978 or 1979. Q: So your involvement to the Association was just purely volunteer? A: lh, yes. Had nothing to do with my incane. Just rreant that I had tv.u jobs with an incaoo fran one. But it was very enjoyable because in the early years with the Ogilvie's, I did all the note taking, writing ~s. Ogilvie's speeches, keeping up, acting as corresponding secretary, and taking the minutes of the rreetings and writing up the details of the different activities and points of interest that we felt were ~rtant. Makir~ the little sketches for the newletter and this sort of thing. Q: You were paid by whan to do this? A: As an employee of the State of Illinois, through the Historical Library. Q: Okay. And so you were not doing the Old State Capitol at that time? A: Oh, yes. But we were on loan fran the Old State Capitol to do both these things at the sane time. Q: Oh. So you had to do both of these. A: Yes. Q: You were starting to tell rre, J.nv.e ll, about soroo of the problEms you had ~th the construction of the Executive Mansion. A: They were not really problEms, because we didn't let than becane problems. But taking out the old plaster for instance. we asked the contractors to be very careful with the original pieces of material. And this included the columns ~th their capitals, same of the cornice in roans, and then these were sometimes indiscriminately twt>led about on the floor and corners. And when we pointed this out to Mrs. Ogilvie, why she linrnediately got after the contractors and they became a little more gentle with this diEmllltling. Another thing was in this raroval of the white paint, the layers of paint on the outside of the building. we wanted to do it chanically because sOOEtx:>dy had tried to do it w1 th a rotary and abrasives and just tore off the outer skin of the bricks and that's no way to treat an old building. And the painters proceeded to use the chemical and nothing happened. It went on for about six weeks, and finally we asked them if they were following the directions on the containers. They agreed, "Yes, we are, definitely." So we said, "All right. Go ahead. We' 11 watch you." And of course, they left out one step. They were taking a short cut and as soon as they put in this one slinple little step, the paint carne off so fast that they had to jump out of the way practically. And it just peeled off very quickly. And bricks for instance, the contractors told us he could not find anyone to make that size brick anyplace in the country. They couldn't find any bricks like that. Well, all they had to do was ask the brick manufacturer to make a steel mold for the pu~ mill to squirt the clay through that mold to Illlke the right size bricks. But apparently, that didn't occur to thEm. And the bricks. they also did not kncm we Did I tell you this befo were going to re? select the colors of Q: No. A: Okay. I said, 11Well, colors are no problEm." We went to the south side of the Mansion where the early addition had been put on and preserved the original color of the bricks. They hadn't been painted or anything. I selected a panel of one hundred bricks and then found out the different colors that were in those one hundred bricks. There were six different colors. And counting the nunber of bricks of each color produced a percentage so there 'W:>uld be three percent of one color and t~ percent of the next color and so forth. End of Side 1\vo, Tape 1\vo
|Title||Anderson, Lowell E. - Interview and Memoir|
Governor's Mansion, Springfield (Ill.)
Historic Sites--Springfield (Ill.)
Old State Capitol, Springfield (Ill.)
Springfield (Ill.)--Historic Sites
|Description||Lowell Anderson discusses the restoration of the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield during Governor Ogilvie's administration. He recalls the condition of the mansion, contents of the attic, termite problems, and structural changes that had been made to the roof and staircase. He discusses the process of restoration, selection of architects, craftsmen, and furniture, the Executive Mansion Association, project funding, and the construction of the rear addition to the building.|
|Creator||Anderson, Lowell E. b.1921|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Kwedar, Melinda [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Title||Lowell E. Anderson Memoir|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Lowell E. Anderson Memoir
AN23. Anderson, Lowell E. b.1921
Interview and memoir
2 tapes, 120 min., 26 pp.
Lowell Anderson discusses the restoration of the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield during Governor Ogilvie's administration. He recalls the condition of the mansion, contents of the attic, termite problems, and structural changes that had been made to the roof and staircase. He discusses the process of restoration, selection of architects, craftsmen, and furniture, the Executive Mansion Association, project funding, and the construction of the rear addition to the building.
Interview by Melinda Kwedar, 1984 OPEN
See collateral file: interviewer's notes and publications and articles on the Old State Capitol and Executive Mansion restoration.
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1984, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
Lowell E. Anderson Memoir
!coPYRIGHT @ 1987 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.
iA!l rights reserved. No part of this work may he reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or lmechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any infonnation storage or retrieval system, without l permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois 62708.
Table of Contents
Biographical Information . . . . . 1 Mrs. Richard Ogilvie •. • 2 New Roof on the Ex:ecut ive Mmsion. 3
• • • • • 111 • • .
John M.lrray Van Osdel. . 4 Governor Ogilvie . . . . • 5 Funding for Restoration of the Executive Mansion. . . . . . • • 6 Floor of the Attic . . . . . . . . 9 Colors for Restoration . .10 Chandeliers....• . •.12 Governor Oglesby • . . .12 I