Governor, First Lady host reunion for first families to reminisce on 57 years of life in governor’s residence

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 6:30pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum tonight hosted former governors and their families during a reception at the governor’s residence, reminiscing on time spent in the home before it’s replaced by a new residence.

Completed in 1960, the current residence is the second official residence built for North Dakota’s governors. The original governor’s residence was built in 1884 as a private home and served as the governor’s residence from 1893 to 1960.

“It is both historic and humbling to welcome the first families who have called this residence ‘home’ over the years, and to reflect on their nearly six decades of dedicated public service to the citizens of North Dakota,” Burgum said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to reminisce with them and share stories that have become part of the history of this home and the fabric of our state.”

The current residence has been home to nine first families, seven of whom were represented at tonight’s gathering. State Historical Society members also attended and had photographs of the first families throughout the years displayed throughout the home.

Four of the five living former governors and three of the five living former first ladies were in attendance: Govs. Allen I. (Barbara) Olson (1981-1984), Ed and Nancy Schafer (1992-2000), U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (2000-2010) and his wife, Mikey, and daughter-in-law Kelly Hoeven, and Jack and Betsy Dalrymple (2010-2016). Attendees also included family members of former Govs. William L. Guy (1961-1973) and George A. Sinner (1985-1992). Former Govs. Arthur A. Link (1973-1981) and John E. Davis (1957-1961) also lived in the home.

A new governor’s residence, which includes significant space for public events, is in the final stages of construction next to the current residence, with the first family scheduled to relocate in early November. Because the state received no offers to buy or relocate the current residence, it is scheduled to be dismantled. Some fixtures and architectural elements from the current residence will be utilized in the new residence.

Efforts are ongoing to raise $1 million in private funds as required by the North Dakota Legislature to match the $4 million in state funds appropriated for the new residence. For more information, visit www.friendsoftheresidence.com.