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(Jim Dalrymple | The Salt Lake Tribune) A formal dining room the mansion is adorned with wood paneling and Utah-themed murals. A member of the catering team mentioned that Gov. Gary Herbert sometimes holds Christmas dinners for his security staff in this room.
Photos show Utah Governor’s Mansion decked out for Christmas

Once a year, Utah’s press and politicos set aside their differences to eat potato chips together in one of the most opulent houses in the state.

This year, that happened Wednesday when Gov. Gary Herbert held his annual Christmas open house. The open house was held at the Governor’s Mansion, which is hands down the fanciest house at least one Tribune reporter has ever seen in Utah.

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The mansion was built in 1902 by mining magnet and U.S. Sen. Thomas Kearns, who also is responsible for the Kearns Building on Main Street. In 1937, the home was donated to the state and became the official governor’s residence. Beginning in the late 1950s, it served as a home for the Utah Historical Society. It once again became the governor’s mansion in 1980.

A fire that started with a Christmas tree destroyed much of the building in 1993, but officials opted to restore it.

I was told Wednesday night that the second floor of the building is the official residence area and is actively used by Herbert’s family.

Never one to pass up free food — especially potato chips and chocolate covered marshmallows! — I attended the open house and took the photos in the gallery to the left. Though the mansion does offer tours, the photos show what it looks like when it’s all gussied up for a Christmas party. Enjoy.

Jim Dalrymple II

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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