Governor lives in a mansion, not in a house

Everyone should know that Alaska's chief executive calls mansion on Calhoun home

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2007

Nothing has disturbed me more than to see the signs scattered around downtown Juneau directing citizens and tourists to the "Governor's House."

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Anyone who appreciates Alaskan history knows that the governor lives in the "Mansion." Each one who has lived in Alaska long enough to qualify for the permanent fund dividend knows this.

To call it the "House" is an effort to level us to a common mold, to say that because we all live in houses, that the governor, being a common citizen like us, must also be consigned to a house.

To live in a mansion is just too grand for some to comprehend or appreciate even if history tells us so. We all must be democrats.

This must go back to ancient times, to the split between the plebs and the aristocrats in Rome, when to get power some pandered to the thronging masses at the Colosseum offering up live Christians to the lions and free bread for all in the name of common humanity.

I hope we share a few things in life that are grand, such as the place where the governor lives.

What a magnificent structure it is, as impressive or more than Tara in "Gone with the Wind." We have an authentic Southern mansion thousands of miles northwest of the Mason-Dixon Line, with a fine history of notable occupants who long served the territory and state.

Thank goodness, there are still clear voices. As I write this article, I hear two tourists outside my door talking about the "Governor's Mansion." They know.

To paraphrase Robert Service: Strange things are done under the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold, but the strangest I ever did see was the sign that the governor only lives in a house.

• Lifelong Alaskan Elton Engstrom is a retired fish buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau.

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