Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Texas Governor’s Mansion Damaged by Fire


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(AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

This weekend, the historic Texas Governor’s Mansion caught fire and much of the 152 year old structure was seriously damaged. Arson is suspected and an investigation is under way.

Fortunately, at the time, the mansion was undergoing a $10 million dollar renovation and it’s current occupants, Governor and Mrs. Rick Perry, were relocated to a temporary residence. Enough of the structural architecture was spared from the flames so that an accurate restoration will be achievable. All of the furnishings, relics and other belongings were also out of the house, in storage for the duration of the renovation. They had even removed the paint and wallpaper and much of the crown molding.

In relative terms, this building was a baby compared to buildings one might see when visiting Europe. But when you consider the tumultuous history of this large state, a building that old and with that kind of stature was a sizable undertaking and landmark at the time it was built.

Texas isn’t too sentimental when it comes to preserving old buildings. In Houston where I live, homes of significant age are routinely torn down to make way for new housing developments or commercial tracts. There are a few organizations that attempt to move these homes or they are stripped of all architectural detailing such as fixtures, stair cases, window casings and other details that might be used by those attempting to restore a similar building.

While I realize a 100 year old shack can be looked at as just that, tearing them all down tends to erase from our consciousness where we come from and how we’ve evolved as a town, city or state. I know that a governor’s mansion is quite a bit more significant than a migrant worker shack, but I would want to have examples of both and not just new museums housing old relics.

I’m relieved that while an expensive road is ahead to restore the Governor’s Mansion, the Perrys and the state of Texas are lucky indeed that the contents of the home were not damaged. Rarely does a bad story like that have such a lucky twist of fate.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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