Former North Dakota first families reminisce on governor’s residence

BISMARCK, N.D. - From the old to the new. Thursday night, former governors and first ladies gathered to say goodbye to the home they used to live in. The current governor's residence is scheduled to be torn down after no takers were found to purchase and move it while a new residence is built.

Former governors Allen Olson, Ed Schafer, John Hoeven and Jack Dalrymple joined current Gov. Doug Burgum for a sendoff to the building that many once called home.

The families of six of the former governors who lived in the current governor's residence spent time talking, laughing and reminiscing about their time in the home.

“Big shoes to fill for sure,” North Dakota first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum said. “And really touching stories of great memories of all the families before us.”

Olson and his family didn't live in the house because he had young children at the time. However, they entertained in the home and he says one of his best memories involved Carl Eller staying at the home, and the cooks coming in the next morning to much of the food they had cooked for a celebration was gone.

“When they came in the morning there was maybe half of what they had cooked before and it was obvious this gigantic former defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings had raided the refrigerator in the middle of the night,” Olson said.

Burgum hasn't lived in the house as long as some of the others, but that doesn't mean he won't remember it.

“I think for us only being here a short time, I really think one of our most special memories staying in this house is actually going to be tonight,” he said.

The gathering, which brought out kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, all circled back to the bond they all share from spending time in the governor's residence.

“These people are my friends, whether they're Democrats or Republicans,” Olson said.

The new home is on track to be completed at the beginning of November.