Tammy Murphy turning the governor’s mansion into the ‘People’s House’
You might have driven by it while passing through Princeton.
The building known as Drumthwacket became the official residence of the governor of New Jersey in 1982, but it was built in 1835 and first occupied by Gov. Charles Smith Olden.
Over the decades, Drumthwacket has aged somewhat ungracefully. But things are changing.
A determined new effort to restore the residence to its former days of glory, and have it reflect what New Jersey is all about, is being spearheaded by first lady Tammy Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Every single thing we are doing has to not only work for the here and now, but has to be a long-term good decision for the property as are hopefully good stewards of this house," she said.
Murphy said she and her husband have taken to renaming Drumthwacket the People’s House.
“We all in the state of New Jersey are taxpayers, and we all help in some way, shape or form to maintain this property, so it should be open and accessible for as many people in New Jersey as possible.”
The nonprofit Drumthwacket Foundation has historically maintained only the spaces of the house considered public, such as the dining room, the salon, the entry foyer and the library. But as the new Foundation president, Mrs. Murphy is changing that.
She said she has asked all of the Foundation trustees “to either financially support the property or help raise a certain amount of money every year” to make necessary and important improvements.
Also she has worked to diversify the Board “and make sure everyone who is on the Drumthwacket Foundation is representative north, south, east, west, all different walks of life and different ethnicitie, to try to be really representative of the state of New Jersey.”
She explained that not only means holding various state functions at Drumthwacket, but also welcoming public tours and school groups on a regular basis.
“Everything that we have done since Phil came into office is to try to open up the house and attract as many people from around New Jersey and give them a reason to come and make this a destination," she said.
A major section of the Statehouse in Trenton is under construction for another two years so Drumthwacket should serve as a focal point to celebrate the proud history of the Garden State.
Tomorrow, a look at what’s being added in the house and how the grounds surrounding the residence are changing.