Designed by architect Alexander Parris in the Federal style, the mansion sits close to the site of a modest frame structure that served as the home to Virginia’s governors after the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780.
The mansion’s original grounds included a separate cookhouse, smokehouse, stable, ice house, carriage and cannon houses. Three of these original buildings remain: the main house, cookhouse (now used as a guest cottage) and the carriage house. Today, the mansion also includes private living quarters for its governors.
The mansion is located within the gates of Capitol Square, a park-like area that includes the State Capitol building designed by Thomas Jefferson, a Bell Tower dating from 1824, and other state government buildings.