Fully restored in 1981 by the Bond administration, the Great Hall welcomes numerous guests to the People’s House each year. The Great Hall features several Renaissance Revival pieces that would have been contemporary for a home in 1871.
Sitting in front of the fireplace, the Howland furniture is a ten-piece parlor suite circa 1875, consisting of two sofas, six armchairs, and two marble-topped tables. Designed with red damask upholstery, the parlor suite was a gift from Dr. Richard Howland, a special assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
Carved from walnut and standing at 14 feet tall, the Mansion’s front doors have been swinging easily and “true” on these hinges since 1871. These heavy, solid wooden front doors have hinges called “German Silver,” a term often used to describe an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc first made in Germany. During the fifth major renovation which happened during the Dalton Administration, the hinges revealed the date of July 18, 1869, predating the Mansion.
You are currently standing on walnut parquet floors that were added during the 1937 renovation under the Stark administration. The inlaid designs were added later in the 1970s. This design is based on a historic pattern which was evident in a house located in Hoboken, New Jersey of the same date and scale of the Mansion.
Replacing an original marble surround that would have matched existing fireplaces on the first floor, this wooden fireplace and over-mantle surround is made from walnut. Please notice that the state seal is featured in the center below the mantle. In 1905, Governor Folk himself discovered and helped extinguish a chimney fire that spread into the Great Hall and the second-floor bedrooms.