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New Ornament Unveiled As Arkansas Governor's Mansion Turns 70

David Monteith

The Arkansas Governor's Mansion celebrated its 70th anniversary Monday. Former Governors Mike Beebe, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Guy Tucker joined family members of other previous governors at the mansion.

The campaign to build the mansion began in 1944 with Mrs. Agnes Bass Shinn. Governor Sid McMath and his family became the mansion's first residents on February 3, 1950.

First Lady Susan Hutchinson unveiled this year's commemorative Christmas ornament, a glass replica of the mansion, to mark the anniversary.

Hutchinson said, "I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Shinn from Harrison, Arkansas who lobbied her legislative husband when she was embarrassed that her out of town guests – when they requested to visit a mansion – had to tell them we don’t have one. And that's what spurred this on was the vision of a woman."

Each of the former governors in attendance spoke about their time in the mansion. Gov. Mike Beebe commented on the legacies left behind by each of the mansion’s occupants.

"Thank you to each family that's contributed something to this mansion and to, as Asa said, ‘the people's house,’" Beebe said. "Because each family has contributed something, from the Cherrys getting the pre-Revolutionary War grandfather clock to the Huckabees' vision of a Grand Hall, which truly changed everything about this place."

Current Gov. Asa Hutchinson estimated the mansion has been host to over 1.2 million visitors since its opening.

"Last year, in 2019 alone, there were 181 events and more than 15,000 visitors. Within the last five years, 72,000 visitors have come to the mansion and during that time there were 850 events," Hutchinson said.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is rumored to be considering a run for the Governor’s office, was among the guests.