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California mansion has a storied past

Perhaps the only state with a more tortured history on its governor’s residence than Idaho is California, which is now one of the five states with no official residence.

There, a historic downtown Sacramento Victorian mansion – now a museum – housed the governor and family for decades, but then-Gov. Ronald Reagan moved out shortly after taking office in 1967, after his wife, Nancy, dubbed it a firetrap. Reagan had a 12,000-square-foot, concrete-block Spanish villa-style mansion built on 11.3 acres of donated land overlooking the American River, but by the time it was completed in 1975, he’d left office, and new Gov. Jerry Brown, then nicknamed “Gov. Moonbeam,” refused to live there, instead renting an apartment across from the Capitol and sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

The riverside mansion was sold shortly before the next California governor took office – over the protests of new Gov.-elect George Deukmejian – and it’s now in a gated community dubbed “La Casa de los Gobernadores.”

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was California’s governor, he commuted by private plane from his Brentwood, Calif., home, or stayed in a suite at the Hyatt. California’s current governor – Jerry Brown again – has rented a loft a few blocks from the Capitol.

– Betsy Russell