Texas Governor's Mansion History

This premier historic home has served as the official residence of Texas governors and their families since 1856. It is the fourth oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the country and the oldest governor’s mansion west of the Mississippi River. Throughout the years, a wealth of colorful stories have come to life within this Texas treasure.

Construction Begins on Mansion

Master builder Abner Cook was awarded the bid and started construction of the "Governor's Residence" in the Fall of 1854 on the two-acre City Block 125. The two-story white brick Greek Revival structure with large Ionic columns stands on the far southwest corner in full view of the capitol. With a starting legislative appropriation of $14,500 for the main structure, an additional $6,000 was later approved for fencing, a ground well and furnishings. (PICB 01890, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

New State Capitol Opens

During Governor Ross' administration, the new Texas State Capitol building was completed in 1888. The Capitol's style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy and characterized by classical orders, round arches and symmetrical composition. The structural exterior walls are "sunset red" granite, quarried just 50 miles from the site. Texas paid for the construction not in dollars, but in land: some three million acres in the Texas Panhandle that would later become the famous XIT Ranch. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

Governor James Hogg

Governor James Hogg was the first native Texan to become governor. His family of six is known as one of the liveliest groups to live in the Mansion. To this day, scars in the stair railings are still visible where Governor Hogg hammered nails to deter his children from sliding down. His daughter Ima Hogg was an enthusiastic collector of art and antiques and had a key role in decorating the mansion throughout her life. (Photo Courtesy The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Gov O'Daniel's Second Inaugural Celebration

Governor Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel added his own piece of history to the Mansion by hosting a barbeque to celebrate his re-election in 1941 – with 20,000 of his closest friends. 19,000 pounds of beef were barbecued in pits dug on the Mansion grounds. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Mansion

Governor Ann Richards welcomed Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to a reception at the Governor's Mansion. This was the first visit by a reigning British monarch to the Governor's Mansion. She was received at the steps of the Capitol and was given an inscribed gavel and a Texas flag by House Speaker Bob Bullock. The Queen then went on to visit Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

Gov. Perry Hosts Former Governor's at the Mansion

In the Spring of 2001, Governor Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry hosted former Governors and First Ladies. They posed for this picture in the small parlor of the Texas Governor's Mansion. Governors pictured: Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, William Clements, Mark White, Ann Richards, Rick Perry; First ladies pictured: Rita Clements, Anita Perry, Linda Gale White.

Mansion Damaged by Arson

On June 8, 2008, the Governor's Mansion was severely damaged by arson. The Mansion was empty and all its prized contents in storage, but significant structural and architectural damage occurred to the house. (Photo Courtesy Volz and Associates, Austin Texas)

Gov A.J. Hamilton

Governor A.J. Hamilton was the first unionist governor and appointed by Abraham Lincoln during a time when Texas was still mostly pro-confederate. The governor and first lady worked hard to smooth over tensions by regularly entertaining guests at the Mansion. In addition to living in the Mansion, the governor and his wife owned another home and 200-acre farm near Austin. Part of Gov. Hamilton’s land was later donated to the State and became the Texas State Cemetery. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

Gov James Throckmorton

Governor James Throckmorton moved into the Mansion without his wife and children in order to focus his efforts on restoring order in Austin after the Civil War. General George Armstrong Custer was also sent to Austin with federal troops to restore order and declared the governor “an impediment to reconstruction” and removed him from office on July 30, 1867. During Throckmorton’s administration, the Mansion underwent major repairs with a $10,500 appropriation from the legislature. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

Gov Elisha and Lucadia Pease Move into New Mansion

Governor Pease and his family move in, becoming the first occupants of the Texas Governor’s Mansion. The Pease family was allocated $2,500 to furnish the house, and they used many of their own furnishings in addition to the allowance. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

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