Pennsylvania politicals

                                              Preserving Pennsylvania's Political Past and Present

This book is a autobiographical account of a woman who served as personal secretary for Governors Pinchot through Shapp. Some stories of the actual residence (Keystone Hall) are mentioned.

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by Le Roy Greene


Published by Stackpole Books

384 pages

This book is more of a biographical sketch of colonial and constitutional governors, however, Greene does give brief histories of the Mystery Mansion and Keystone Hall.


by "Gusty" Gale


Privately published by the Gale family

244 pages

As early as 1852, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives proposed funds for "the erection of a dwelling for the residence of the Governor of this Commonwealth." Six years later, on January 18, 1858, Governor Pollock signed the bill authorizing funds for the purchase of a building suitable for the governor.

 By 1861 and the start of the Civil War, Governor Curtin found the home to be too small to handle the full load of war-related business. Funds were authorized to purchase 313 North Front Street. Governor Curtin and family moved into the residence in 1864.

Twenty years later, the neighboring home was purchased, joined together, and a faux fa├žade was built. Keystone Hall was now a fully-functioning governor residence.

By 1959, the home had fallen into such disrepair that the home was sold and demolished the following year. (The governors used the State House at Indiantown Gap during this period.) Arthur James proposed a new governors residence in 1941. He wanted a grand house built in the William & Mary (Williamsburg) style architecture. However, it took over 25 years for his idea to come to fruition. In 1968, the current residence opened to welcome the Ray Shafer family. It has been the home of the governor ever since.

Pennsylvania has never used the name "mansion" to describe the governor's official home. Even when the first bill was proposed to purchase a home, the word mansion was not used. Rather, the home was and is designated as a "residence." Even during the 79 years that Keystone Hall was used, it was known simply as that, Keystone Hall. Even today, the home located at 2035 North Front Street  is officially known as "The Governor's Residence" not "The Governor's Mansion." The distinction may be both psychological and historical. It may help to remind the governor that he lives in the people's house, and it may remind the electorate that the we as citizens own the home and allow the individuals who we choose to reside there only temporarily.

1858 - 1863

South Second Street

1864 - 1960

313 North Front Street

1968 - present

2035 North Front Street