The Executive Chamber, also sometimes referred to as the "Red Room", has been
in continuous use by New York State Governors since its completion in 1881.
Nicknamed for its original red drapes and rug, this room served as the working
office of the Governor until the end of Grover Cleveland's administration in
1885. His successor, David Hill, then moved his private office into a nearby
smaller room, leaving the Executive Chamber for ceremonial occasions, a
function that still continues today.
The Red Room remains one of the truly outstanding works within the Capitol.
Designed by Senate Chamber architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, the similarities
between the two rooms are apparent. It has the same carpeting, chandeliers,
and gold leaf wall band that the Senate Chamber possesses. The room has an
elegant mahogany wainscoting, and the intricate coffered oak ceiling
stained to match. Additionally, a beautiful bronze leaf band covers the
upper half of the walls.
Above - The Executive Chamber also known as the "Red Room".
The large desk in the Executive Chamber has been used by every Governor
since 1881, with one slight addition made by Governor Thomas Dewey. The
addition of steps to the back of the desk served as a platform for photo
sessions. Using this platform at bill signing ceremonies, Dewey could elevate
himself above the legislators. This room also contains a little known secret ... a hidden door.
When future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became Governor in
1929, he suffered from polio and was confined to a wheelchair. He wanted
a way to get from his car to his second floor office without using public
elevators. Knowing the service elevator in the adjacent room could be used to
reach various floors, all that was needed was a door to connect the two rooms.
To preserve the finely paneled wainscoting, a door was cut in the paneled
grooves. When it was closed, it blended perfectly with the paneled wall.
Above - A portrait of New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, hanging in the Hall of Governors.
The main hallway leading to the Executive Chamber is in itself, filled with
prestige and honor. This is known as the "Hall of Governors." As a lasting tribute to their
leadership, tradition holds that upon leaving office, the governor,
at his own expense, commissions his portrait to be painted and displayed
along with the other former great leaders of our state and this nation.
U. S. Presidents Grover Cleveland, Martin VanBuren, Theodore Roosevelt,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as well as former Vice Presidents George Clinton
and Nelson Rockefeller all have their place in New York's "Hall of Governors."