Governor’s Anteroom

The Offices of the Governor

The anteroom, or reception room, was the first in a suite of three rooms that served as the Governor’s offices.

The historic Governor’s rooms are available as a virtual tour.

The Governor’s Anteroom served as a formal reception space for the governor and his staff. This room has been restored to appear as it might have in 1906 during the term of Governor George Pardee. The Anteroom provided visitors with comfortable chairs, cigars, and spittoons (or “cuspidors”) for chewing tobacco, in keeping with office etiquette of the time. Two of the governor’s staff of four worked out of the Anteroom. During Pardee’s tenure, the most notable of these was messenger Jacob Soares – the first African American to work in the governor’s offices.  

Following his election in 1903, Governor Pardee set to work planning a major modernization of the Capitol building. Remodeling plans included replacing the Capitol’s wooden roof with a metal one, adding a fourth floor, and installing new electric elevators and lighting. An additional priority of the redesign was the introduction of gas lines to provide heat in the winter, and compressed air to serve as an air conditioning system in the summer. Blueprints, orders, and agreements with contractors can be seen strewn across the Anteroom desks in anticipation of the exciting new project. Numerous aesthetic improvements were also added to the contractors’ plans, including the installation of rich carpeting, ornate woodwork, and expensive mahogany furnishings. 

Shortly after construction began in 1906, the process was stalled by a catastrophic earthquake and fire in San Francisco on April 18th. Statewide uncertainty, freight congestion, labor shortages, and skyrocketing demand for building materials delayed the completion of the renovations for several months. The modernizations were finally finished in late 1908 and well-received by the public. The monthly publication The Grizzly Bear wrote in May 1909, “Standing in the midst of a tree-studded park of thirty-three acres, dotted here and there with gardens of the choicest flowers, the recently remodeled State Capitol Building at Sacramento is distinctly a thing of beauty and should forever be a joy to the people of California.” 

Photo of California Governor's Anteroom
Photo of California Governor's Anteroom
Undated photo of California Governor's Anteroom