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  • Governor's MansionGovernor's Mansion Salt Lake City, Utah
    The Governor's Mansion located in Salt Lake City, Utah is a uniquely different type of architectural styled building that was built in 1902 by the wealthy mining magnate, U. S. Senator Thomas Kearns. It is an elaborate and extravagant home that was often the scene of political debates as well as the business of the government. The best craftsmen and finest materials around were used in its construction and it is more like the opulent mansions of the east owned by men like the Vanderbilts and Carnegies. It became a grand entertainment center where live orchestras played and guests danced the night away after indulging in decadent meals that were enjoyed by wealthy and prominent people like the personal friend of Kearns, President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and others that moved in the right circles of richness and decadence; as did other dignitaries of politics and religion. Then, in 1937, the widow of Senator Kearns gave the estate to the state and during the following two decades the governors of the state would live there during their terms. Finally, in 1957, Governor J. Bracken Lee envisioned a new residence for the governor, that would fit in better in the Federal Heights district of Salt Lake City and the mansion was turned over to the Utah Historical Society. After the Lees moved out, the society moved in and it turned into the offices of the society, with library and museum. In 1977, Governor Scott Matheson proposed renovating the mansion to become the governor's residence again, so expansive works were committed to make it ready for daily living and state functions. In 1980, it became Matheson's home, as it would be for Bangerter and Leavitt after him. In 1993, a holiday fire broke out before noon and a majority of the mansion was destroyed but the lives of all living and working there were spared and the quick response of the Salt Lake City firefighters were able to stop it before the historical mansion suffered more damage. The first priority of the day became getting heat back and the process of restoring it to its former glory and magnificence. The Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM) and other agencies discovered there were enough of the original materials were still available and a complete renovation started after interviewing all the potential craftsmen that would be needed for the restoration project. The main focus, of course, was to return it to its original condition and to preserve as much as possible of the interior furnishings and assets, to better the architectural soundness and to recapture the splendor and beauty of the turn of the century time. Governor Mike Leavitt stated that it was the most outstanding historical restoration in the nation, with painstakingly work done by the artisans that helped restore the magnificent residence to its former condition, which was quite remarkable and one of the greatest treasures of the state was saved and gave their centennial celebration one of the greatest moments in its history.  All the newest safety features were added along with the renovations and today it is reflective of the abilities of those marvelous craftsmen. The total cost was $7.8 million.  The woodcarving and plasterwork that was used in the mansion had been unique architectural features, with the original white oak carvings being created with extraordinary quality, were made in Europe at the turn-of-the-century, by either German or Austrian craftsmen, and the fire destroyed or damage much of these, especially in the Grand Hall where the Christmas tree stood. The burned carvings were sent to Agrell and Thorpe, Ltd. in Sausalito, California and taken to their wood carving shop. There, master carver Ian Agrell, stated that the carvings would be the biggest wood carving project that had been attempted in the world within the past decade. His 12 craftspeople would then spend almost 20,000 hours to recreate the carvings and during that time found out that even with the tools that were available today, the designs could not be improved upon. They were also able to reconstruct the stone carvings that were on the columns on the upstairs south porch. The special ceiling plasterwork could not be taken down to clean, nor copied, so it was cleaned and repaired in place.

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  • Salt Lake City Public LibrarySalt Lake City Public Library Salt Lake City, Utah
    The Salt Lake City Public Library's main branch structure is one of the most unique architecturally designed buildings in the country and the grounds around it are called the Library Square. The building is 240,000 square feet spread across five floors of its wedge shaped structure containing more than half a million books, and over 60 subscriptions to magazines, newspapers and 163 internet capable computers. It is made of 44,960 yards of concrete and 176,368 square feet of glass with the main feature being the curved glass five stories high. The library square is landscaped and has a paved plaza, and much of the space is open with out building being built at some time in the future, but Mayor Rocky Anderson suggested that these not be constructed but rather a public park put in instead. There are some shops on the square and radio station KCPW, with the paving material coming from Israel and being limestone. Entering the building, you are in the Urban Room that contains the same limestone paving and the room goes all the way up the five stories and stops with a 20,000 square foot skylight and more shops on one side of the room. There is a rooftop garden planted with numerous perennial plants, flowering bulbs, grasses and trees. The library depends on an abundance of natural lighting, thus reducing the needs of lights in the building and the glass curved wall helps with that need. Other marvelous features include; the biggest and oldest zine collection in a public library, a children's library, spiraling fireplaces that are placed on four of the floors and designed in such a magnificent way that it would look like a stream of fire if seen from the streets on 200 East and 400 West, an art gallery that showcases the works of local artisans, a coffee shop with private access to the young adults section, spiral grand staircase and three glass elevators, a lens on the south side that enhances the temperature in the winter thus saving on heating costs, and one of the biggest, if not biggest graphic novel collection in any public library.

January 11, 2011