The Virginia Governor's Mansion, better known as the Executive Mansion, is located in Richmond, Virginia on Capitol Square and serves as the official residence of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Designed by Alexander Parris, it is the oldest occupied governor's mansion in the United States. It has served as the home of Virginia governors and their families since 1813. This mansion is both a Virginia and a National Historic Landmark, and has had a successive number of renovations and expansions during the 20th century.
Adjacent and immediately north of Capitol Square is the Court End neighborhood, which houses the White House of the Confederacy. During the Civil War, Virginia's statehouse, also in Richmond, housed offices of the Confederacy. When Richmond became the capital of Virginia during 1779, there was no residence for the governor, but Thomas Jefferson rented one. The state was so poor that they could not pay the rent in time, so they blamed Jefferson for the problem. The state finally paid their rent and built a residence for the governor on the site of the present building.
The law that provided for the construction of the current building was signed on February 13, 1811, by James Monroe with the building being completed in 1813. Monroe's term ended and he was succeeded by George William Smith. Smith, however, was not the first governor to live in the mansion because he lost his life in the burning of the Richmond Theatre saving others December 26, 1811. His successor, James Barbour, was the first governor to live in the mansion. The term "mansion" was not used in the law that authorizing it to be built, but it has been used ever since.