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Governor William Sherman Jennings and staff were the first to use the new suite. At that time the Governor’s Suite consisted of four interconnected rooms, a staff office, a reception room, a cabinet meeting room and the Governor’s private office. From the north hallway the first door to the Governor’s Suite leads directly to the staff office. The entire Governor’s staff in 1902 consisted of a secretary, Mr. Charles Dickinson, and a stenographer, Grace Mann, sister-in-law to the Governor. To your left, the large wooden filing system was in this room over a hundred years ago and it still has some of the original labels from that period. The next doorway leads to the reception room furnished with period reproduction furniture, carpet and light fixtures. On the walls of the reception room is our gallery of governors consisting of reproductions of their official portraits. The gallery includes all of Florida’s Governors from the first Andrew Jackson to our current Governor. The originals are in storage to protect them from light damage.
The middle room is the Cabinet Meeting room and includes an original table once used for cabinet meetings. From this spot you can view all rooms of the Governor’s Suite and note such details as the steam radiators, tobacco spittoons, law bookcases with original law books, wicker trash baskets and the collection of early Governors’ portraits, that was once rescued from a trash bin.
The last room located in the corner is the Governor’s private office. Governor Jennings let few visitors into this room, preferring to meet them in the reception room. The desk is Jennings’ original roll-top desk made of Honduras mahogany. Notice the candlestick phone on the desk. Jennings was the first Governor to have a telephone. His original phone number was simply “6.”