Politics & Government

11-member Bevin family preparing to move into Governor’s Mansion

Good thing the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion is big. The 11-member Bevin family is planning to move in next month.

Gov. Matt Bevin, his wife, Glenna Bevin, and their nine children are making arrangements to move from their Louisville home to the 25-room mansion across the street from the State Capitol building, said Jessica Ditto, Bevin’s communications director.

The Bevin family will be the largest ever to occupy the mansion. James B, McCreary, Kentucky’s 27th and 37th governor, and his family were the first to live in the executive residence that opened in January 1914 after two years of construction at a cost of $95,000.

“You can definitely say the Bevin family will be the largest to live there,” said Steve Collins, chairman of the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission.

Collins lived in the mansion during the administration of his mother, Gov. Martha Layne Collins.

Collins, who operates the Hall-Taylor Funeral Home in Shelbyville, said the prior governor with the most children in the mansion was William J. Fields of Olive Hill. He was in office from 1923 to 1927 and had six children.

Three governors have lived in the home who had four children with them — Albert B. “Happy” Chandler, Edward T. “Ned” Breathitt and Julian Carroll, said Collins.

Most of Kentucky’s first families have had two or three children, he said.

The Bevin family will keep their Louisville home, said Ditto.

She said the change of residence for them is involving “typical moving arrangements.”

“One office was changed to a bedroom and that only entailed a furniture change. No renovations,” she said.

Bevin was sworn into office last Dec. 8 as Kentucky’s third Republican governor since World War II.

Ditto said Bevin and his wife made it clear after last November’s election that they were in no hurry to move into the mansion because they did not want to disrupt their children’s school year.

“They took time to decide the best arrangement as a family and provide a smooth transition for the children,” she said.

The children will be attending school in Louisville this fall, she said without elaboration to protect their privacy. Ditto said there is no truth to rumors that Bevin had used the state helicopter to transport him back and forth to work.

The Bevins married in 1996. They adopted four children — between the ages of 2 and 10 — from Ethiopia in June 2012.

The family’s new home in Frankfort is both a private home and public building. It has two dining rooms, a grand ballroom, a commercial-size kitchen, a sun parlor and private living quarters for the first family.

The first Kentucky Governor’s Mansion was built in 1798 in downtown Frankfort and now is known as the Old Governor’s Mansion. It was first occupied by Gov. James Garrard in 1798 and was long known as the “Palace.” It once was the residence of the state’s lieutenant governor.

The current mansion is known as “the people’s house” and is one of the few governors’ residences in the U.S. that is still operating and open to the public.

In his book about the mansion, the late Kentucky historian laureate Thomas D. Clark called it a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture, whose historical source was the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France.

Each year, the mansion hosts thousands of visitors from throughout the state and across the world, including local and international leaders and celebrities.

Some of the most renowned visitors to the Mansion in the past few decades include Queen Elizabeth, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Wayne.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics