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First lady publishes book about the Governor's residence

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota’s First Lady has written a book about the history of the current Governor’s Mansion in Bismarck.

Betsy Dalrymple titled the book “Building a House, Making a Home: A History of the North Dakota Governor’s Residence.” She says the book is filled with facts and stories about the mansion.

"Did you know that this wasn't the original spot for this house," said Dalrymple. "The original spot for the Governor's residence was in the northeast corner."

That’s the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds.

Dalrymple says a bill to build the house was vetoed – twice. But she says in 1955, the veto was overturned by the Legislature. Construction began in 1959.

"On June 12th, 1959, they (construction workers) uncovered a coffin," said Dalrymple. "Later, they uncovered five coffins in this area, because it was a pauper's cemetery."

Dalrymple says she interviewed the living First Ladies who preceded her in the mansion – as well as family members of the former Governors. She says she’s learned a lot of history.

"But the best part of this, I have to say, is I've made some new friends," said Dalrymple. "I've really enjoyed getting to know their families. Thinking about them, walking and living in this house -- that has been truly a blessing."

The 115 page paperback sells for $19.95 – and the proceeds will go to the Friends of the North Dakota Governor’s Residence.