Thursday, June 12, 2008

Texas Governor's Mansion

This is a few days old, but there was major fire at the Texas Governor's Mansion in the early morning last Sunday. It appears to have been arson. Although I hate to see any historic structure lost or damaged, this one hits a little closer to home. When we lived in Austin, there was a major bus transfer point in front of the mansion. I spent a lot of time waiting on buses admiring the mansion. We always said that we ought to tour the mansion some time, but never did. This should be a lesson to not assume that things will always be around. Gather rosebuds while you may.

The good news is the the mansion was in the middle of a major renovation (which is why security was so lax) and all of the artworks, furniture, and artifacts were in storage. The bad news is that a lot of the historic fabric is gone. For example, the banister rail had filled holes where Governor Jim Hogg had driven nails to keep his kids from sliding down the banister. From the pictures I've seen, that rail is a complete loss.

The picture above is courtesy of the Texas Governor's Office. The Governor's office has also posted more images of the damage here. Governor Perry has vowed to rebuild, whatever the cost. I saw one estimate that said that other similar structure with comparable damage cost 20 million dollars to repair. If I know Texas that are probably several dozen rich dudes who would be willing and able to foot the entire bill. I also can't imagine the Texas legislature not coming up with the money.

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