JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Besides the State Capitol, Jefferson City is home to the Governor’s Mansion.
Fox 2’s Capitol Bureau Reporter Emily Manley visited with Missouri’s First Lady at the home she never thought she would occupy.
“Everyday, and still to this day, sometimes the governor and I look at each other and say, ‘Did you ever?’ And we both shake our head no,” said First Lady Teresa Parson.
More than two years ago Mike Parson received the call to fill the role of the governor for the State of Missouri.
“It definitely was never a goal of mine and I never think it was the governor’s goal but sometimes life changes your plan and apparently someone had a different opinion so here we are,” said Parson.
The First Lady has been married to the governor for almost 35 years. She said she met her husband in her hometown of Bolivar when he was the sheriff of Polk County.
“I began to wait on him at the local bank and so from there we began to date and the rest is history as they say,” Parson said laughing.
The couple still has their farm in Bolivar, but spend more of their time living in the Governor’s Mansion. Parson calls it, “The People’s House.”
“90 percent of the time is spent here in Jefferson City and here at this home,” said Parson. “The house belongs to all Missourians and we are grateful and blessed to be here.”
The Parsons have two children and six grandchildren who live in Bolivar and southwest Missouri.
Governor Parson spent more than a decade in Jefferson City as a lawmaker before becoming the state’s 57th governor.
“I’m the 51st First Lady and so that’s in itself is hard for me to all take in,” said Parson. “It’s not an elected position, it’s not a paid position, I try to make the most of it by sharing with Missourians.”
The Governor’s Mansion has three floors and a basement where the staff works. The first floor is open for tours to showcase the state’s history.
“The second and third floor are considered the residence of the mansion and that’s what we occupy.”
Pieces of furniture, like the collection from the 1904 World’s Fair is one of the First Lady’s favorite things.
“I’m pretty protective of it,” Parson said laughing. “I don’t let a lot of people sit on it and my grandkids know they can’t sit out here.”
Another gem in the house is a sofa from the second Capitol in 1911.
“That sofa, along with a very few other pieces, were actually carried out of the burning Capitol that evening and salvaged.”
Also on the first floor, pictures of other First Lady’s hang on the wall, and pieces of silver from the USS Missouri are on display.
“That silver and that punch bowl and a smaller punch bowl was used on the day that the Peace Treaty was signed ending WWII.”
A sun porch on the left side of the house facing the Capitol is the First Lady’s favorite room in the house.
“We sit out there in the morning and drink our coffee and look towards the Capitol,” said Parson. “It’s just a beautiful view.”
The First Lady said besides what’s in the house, sharing its beauty with visitors is by far her favorite.
“This house is our history,” said Parson. “The past and hopefully it’s around for a long time for our future.”
Parson said past governors who lived in the mansion leave something for the next family and visitors. When asked what she and the governor would leave, she said they haven’t decided.
“We want to leave something everyone can enjoy and frankly we have not made a decision as to what we would do or what we will leave.”
Parson said the mansion is still open for visitors but is limiting the number of people in the groups due to the pandemic. To book a tour, visit the mansion’s website.
Each year, nearly 50,000 to 60,000 thousand people visit the Governor’s Mansion.