Monday, January 28, 2008

Governor Steunenberg's Desk or Desks?

Governor Steunenberg’s desks? To the left  is an old article from my mother's photo album showing the governor’s desk in the ISHS Museum. It is not dated but I assume the article appeared in the Idaho Statesman in the 1950's. At some point the desk was moved around and ended up in the capitol building where apparently a second desk existed that is almost identical.

Prior to the recent capitol restoration project, one of the desks was in the Lieutenant Governor's office and the other in the Attorney Generals office. With the help of Attorney General Wasden (picture courtesy of the Idaho Statesman), I was able to closely examine the desk in his adjoining conference room during our visit in 2005. You will notice Governor Steunenberg's portrait on the wall over the Attorney Generals right shoulder. That desk was empty so I was able to freely remove drawers and examine it in some detail.

The other desk was in the Lieutenant Governor’s back office and there was no receptionist or other staff to be found at the time. I went over to the governor’s office and did get someone to let me in. The desk, being in actual use by the Lieutenant Governor, contained various contents and a watchful eye discouraged my desire to pilfer through it and empty the drawers to examine the underside where some markings/initials had allegedly been made. I will return another day. 

Which of the desks was actually the governors is apparently unknown. Since both are identical and date to the same period, perhaps each were used at one time or another by Governor Steunenberg. The same design can be seen in old photos showing the governor at the desk in his office at the old territorial capitol building. Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

And since the governor had a two office suite, there were likely two identical desks anyway, one being his main desk in his back office and the other his secretary's in the front.

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