Completed in 1839, the Old Governor's Mansion is one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the nation. Serving as the residence for Georgia's chief executives for over thirty years, the Mansion's history encompasses the antebellum, Civil War, and early Reconstruction phases of the state's history. Such noted state leaders as George Crawford, Howell Cobb, and Joseph E. Brown resided in the building and used it as a stage for speeches and also to introduce guests of national standing. During the Civil War, the Mansion was claimed as a "prize" in the "March to the Sea," when General William T. Sherman headquartered in the building on November 23, 1864. Following the war, Georgia's seat of government was relocated to Atlanta and the Mansion was abandoned. Given over to Georgia Normal & Industrial College (currently known as Georgia College & State University) in 1889, the Mansion served as the founding building of the institution and is the campus's most treasured structure.
Beginning in the late 1990s, an initiative was begun to return the Mansion to its antebellum splendor. Following five years of intensive historical, structural, and material research, the Old Governor's Mansion began its long awaited historic restoration in November of 2001. Funded through the Georgia General Assembly and a generous grant from the Woodruff Foundation, over three years of painstaking work has restored the original layout, colorations, lighting, and appearance of the building. The award winning project was selected by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for its Excellence in Restoration Award and the prestigious Marguerite Williams Award for Excellence in Preservation along with two of the Georgia Historical Society's Roger K. Warlick Awards for Excellence in Preservation and Exhibits. The Old Governor's Mansion now serves as a historic house museum and is available for individual and group tours. In addition to these operations, the Mansion has an Education Building used for tour orientations, lectures, symposia, and exhibits on the history and archeology of the building. The Old Governor's Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.