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.

1854-09-01 16:01:48

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)

1856-06-14 00:00:00

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)

1857-12-21 16:01:48

Gov Hardin R. Runnels

Governor Hardin R. Runnels, former speaker of the house and lieutenant governor to Pease, moved into the Mansion. Due to his bachelor status, he chose his sister-in-law Martha Caroline Adams Runnels, to be his first lady. Gov. Runnels is known for calling on the federal government to send troops to protect the frontier and in their absence authorize him to send the necessary amount of men to protect Texas settlers. He is also known for passing an act establishing the University of Texas. Governor Runnels was famous for wearing two Colt six-shooters at his sides at all times, one of which remains in the Governor’s Collection today. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1859-12-21 16:01:48

Gov Sam Houston Purchases famous Sam Houston Bed

Governor Sam Houston moved into the Mansion in December of 1859. State legislators passed a bill approving an additional $2,500 for furnishings, which was spent on bedroom and bathroom furnishings. The most memorable of these purchases was the famous Sam Houston Bed, which rests in a fifth bedroom created to house the large Houston household. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1860-08-12 16:01:48

Temple Lea Houston First Born in Mansion

Temple Lea Houston, son of Sam Houston, was the first baby born in the Mansion. He was delivered in the Houston bed, and at age 7, after his parents died, he went to live with his oldest sister in Georgetown. He passed the bar test at age 20, becoming the youngest practicing lawyer in Texas at the time. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1861-03-16 00:00:00

Gov Edward Clark

Governor Edward Clark became governor when Sam Houston refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. During his administration, $150 was appropriated for Mansion repairs. Few social events took place during the Mansion during this time due to preoccupation with the Civil War. Gov. Clark lost reelection in 1861, and he joined a regiment of the Confederacy and became a brigadier general. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1861-11-07 00:00:00

Gov Francis R. Lubbock

Governor Francis R. Lubbock was elected after a long political career holding positions as congressional clerk, comptroller of the Republic, and lieutenant governor to Runnels. He is known for always keeping the Mansion open to visitors, and didn’t like to dine alone. During the legislative session, he made sure each senator or representative shared a meal with the first family at least once. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1863-11-05 00:00:00

Gov Pendleton Murrah

Governor Pendleton Murrah presided over Texas during the final months of the Confederacy. During his time in the Mansion, the Legislature appropriated $14,000 for furnishings, repairs, and fences despite wartime budgetary shortages the state faced. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1865-06-17 00:00:00

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)

1866-08-09 00:00:00

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)

1867-08-08 00:00:00

Gov Elisha Pease - 2nd Term

Gov. Pease was reappointed governor by General Philip Sheridan after Throckmorton was declared “an impediment to reconstruction.” During his second term in office, Gov. Pease chose not to live in the mansion and handed it over to General J.J. Reynolds and his family, who occupied it until April 30, 1869. After Gen. Reynolds moved out, it is believed that the Mansion remained unoccupied until the Gov. Edmund J. Davis was inaugurated in January 1870. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1870-01-08 00:00:00

Gov Edmund J. Davis

Edmund Davis was the first Republican governor to live in the Mansion. After receiving a report that the mansion was dilapidated, the 12th Legislature appropriated $5,000 for repairs and additions, including the first indoor lavatory. Governor Davis’ niece, Mary Hall, was married to George Sampson in the first of many weddings held at the Mansion. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1874-01-15 12:33:49

Gov Richard Coke

Governor Richard Coke and his family moved into the Mansion a month after his inauguration, and found that the mansion was in need of repairs. The governor oversaw several appropriations from the legislature for repainting and refurnishing, and the installation of gas pipes and chandeliers. The Cokes, however, did not hold many social events in the Mansion due to Mrs. Coke’s medical condition. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1876-12-01 00:00:00

Gov Richard B. Hubbard

During Richard Bennett Hubbard’s governorship, water hydrants were installed to supply water to the garden and shrubbery, and fountains were established on the Mansion grounds. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1879-01-21 00:00:00

Running Water Installed During Gov Roberts' Administration

Running water was installed during the Oran Roberts administration. In 1880, General Phillip Sheridan and General Ulysses S. Grant visited the Mansion, showing that ex-Confederates and Yankees could co-exist peacefully. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1883-01-16 00:00:00

First Telephone Installed During Gov Ireland's Administration

The first telephone was installed during Governor Ireland’s time in office. It was one of 50,000 telephones in the entire country in the 1880s, and one of the first in Texas. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1888-04-21 20:42:49

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)

1891-01-20 12:33:49

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)

1895-01-15 20:42:49

Gov Charles A. Culberson

Governor Charles A. Culberson and First Lady Sallie Culberson made a lasting contribution to the Mansion with the addition of a silver name plate fastened to the footboard of the Sam Houston Bed. This was done in an effort to ensure that the bed would be protected from the casual tradition of shifting furniture in and out of the Mansion. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1899-01-17 00:00:00

Electricity Installed During Gov Sayer's Administration

When the Sayers moved in, the Mansion was badly in need of repairs. During Governor Jospeh Sayers two terms in office, the state appropriated $8,000 for improvements and repairs. Electricity was installed for the first time in the house along with new carpets, crystal chandeliers, and wallpaper for the four main rooms. A new stable was also added to house the First lady Orline Sayers’ favorite horses “King” and “Prince.” Pictured, Governor Sayers dog refused to leave the Mansion when they moved out, and stayed with the carriage driver through Governor Lanham's administration. (Photo Courtesy The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

1901-05-03 12:33:49

President and Mrs. McKinley Visit Mansion

First Lady Sayers was a renowned hostess, constantly planning events and entertaining guests. She received the William Jennings Bryan Family and two Mexican governors at the Mansion. In May of 1901, President William McKinley and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt made the first presidential visit to the Mansion. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1903-01-20 12:33:49

Gov S. W. T. Lanham

S. W. T. Lanham was the final Confederate war veteran to serve as governor, and he later admitted that due to his old age and poor health he “made a great mistake when I became Governor of Texas.” In Governor Lanham’s administration, the pantry during Governor Sayer’s administration was converted to a servant’s bedroom. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1907-01-15 12:33:49

Gov Mitchell Campbell

Governor Campbell was the second native Texan to take office as governor. He grew up living on the neighboring farm to Governor James Hogg’s family. First Lady Fannie Campbell was known for her beauty but also was her husband’s confidante and advisor. She believed “money should be put where the people generally would share its benefits” and made improvements to the exterior to make it more aesthetically pleasing. (C02730c, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

1913-01-01 12:33:49

Gov Colquitt Oversees $11,000 Additions to Mansion

During Governor Oscar Colquitt’s second term in office, the 33rd Legislature appropriated $12,000 for Mansion improvements. A Conservatory, kitchen, bedrooms, basement, and wash room were built. The conservatory is a large room featuring nine windows, and served as an informal place for the family to dine and entertain guests. It is often called the “Family Dining Room.” (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1915-09-19 06:16:34

Gov James E. Ferguson

During Governor James E. Ferguson’s time in the Mansion, a greenhouse was added to the southwest corner of the lot at the request of First Lady Miriam A. Ferguson, and the upstairs front gallery was screened in as a sleeping porch so the governor could catch a breeze during the hot summers. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1917-09-26 06:16:34

Gov William Hobby

After the impeachment of Governor Ferguson, William Hobby assumed office becoming the youngest Texas governor at age 39. He ran and won against Ferguson in the 1918 election in order to keep his position as governor. Due to World War I, the family entertained very few guests at the Mansion. The most significant contribution to the house during this administration was the installation of a steam heating system. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1921-01-18 06:16:34

Gov Pat Neff and Family in Mansion Garden

Governor Pat Neff was so opposed to dancing he declined to have an inaugural ball when he was elected in 1921. Many admired his moral stand and his wife planned a banquet at a local country club in the ball’s place. Gov. Neff vetoed an appropriation of $5,000 for Mansion repairs, becoming one of the few governors ever to do so. (C08033, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

1925-01-20 03:31:27

Gov Miriam "Ma" Ferguson

Gov. Miriam Ferguson was the first female governor of Texas. She vowed to return to the Mansion when her husband was impeached, and arrived in the same Packard the family used to leave in 1917. Mrs. Ferguson fought to end the Ku Klux Klan, passing an Anti-Mask law making it illegal to wear masks in public. (C02883, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

1927-01-17 03:31:27

Gov Dan Moody

Governor Dan Moody and his wife were the youngest couple to occupy the Mansion, moving in when he was thirty-three and she was twenty-nine. The Mansion was said to be barren when the Moodys moved in, and a rat infestation made things worse for the newlyweds who were attempting to furnish the Mansion on the $4,000 a year appropriation from the legislature. The legislature made an emergency appropriation of $12,000 to completely refurbish the Mansion with new wallpaper, a new roof, plumbing upstairs, iron rails, cement steps to the front entry, and a new heating and refrigeration plant. (C02801c, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

1931-01-20 00:00:00

Gov Ross S. Sterling

Governor Ross S. Sterling moved into the Mansion, which was a significant downgrade in size from his previous White House replica home with 34 bedrooms. First Lady Maud Sterling oversaw the hanging of the draperies and installation of new carpets in the mansion, but she also stayed true to her simple roots and was often mistaken as a gardener or maid due to her devotion to the Mansion. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1933-01-17 03:31:27

Gov Miriam "Ma" Ferguson - 2nd Term

Miriam A. Ferguson was elected governor for a second time, and the Ferguson family moved into the Mansion for the third time following her inauguration. During her administration, Gov. Ferguson submitted requests to the legislature for an electric refrigerating unit and landscaping, and both requests were approved. (Photo Courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin, TX)

1937-03-17 03:31:27

Sam Houston Allred was born to Gov James and Joe Betsy Allred

Governor Allred’s third son, Sam Houston Allred, was born in the Sam Houston Bed, becoming the second child born in the Mansion. (PICB 00001, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

1941-04-13 23:00:13

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)

1942-01-03 03:31:27

First Lady Fay Stevenson Passes Away in Mansion

The spring before Coke Stevenson was elected governor, his wife Fay fell ill with cancer. On the day of her husband’s inauguration she was transported from the hospital to the ceremony. Confined to a wheelchair, moving around the Mansion was difficult. An elevator was installed, but it was too small to fit her wheelchair. On January 3, 1942, the first lady passed away in the Library, which had been converted into a bedroom. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1947-01-21 12:01:57

Gov Beauford Jester

When Governor Beauford Jester and his family moved in to the Mansion it was in such poor condition that a journalist referred to as a “disgrace to Texas”. The 50th Legislature appropriated $50,000 for Mansion restoration and renovations. The Jester family moved to the Speaker’s apartment at the Capitol while the Sam Houston room was renovated, an arbor with a garden pool was built, and structural changes were made to the interior of the house. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1949-07-16 12:01:57

Gov Robert Shivers

Governor Allen Shivers became the first governor to be elected to serve three terms. First Lady Marialice Shivers was a graceful host and won Mother of the Year in 1953. General and Mrs. MacArthur, Senator and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, and comedian Bob Hope were some of the distinguished guests hosted at the Mansion during the Shivers Administration. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1952-07-01 12:01:57

Central Heating/Air and New Roof Installed During Gov Shivers' Administration

More than $100,000 was spent on the Mansion for repairs and renovations during Governor Shivers’ seven and a half years in office. A central heating and cooling system was installed in the basement under the State Dining Room and all exposed pipes were removed. The roof was replaced with structural steel framing along with a gypsum roof deck. Mrs. Shivers, along with the Mansion Board, chose official china and sterling silver table service patterns to replace the mixed sets used in previous years. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1957-01-15 12:01:57

Gov Price Daniel

Price Daniel left the Senate to fulfill his lifetime goal and serve as Governor of Texas. Four months after his inauguration, a twenty four pound piece of plaster fell in the Entry Hall, barely missing the governor. It was discovered that the ceiling and stairwell needed extensive repairs. First Lady Jean Daniel, great-great granddaughter of Sam Houston, began the Governor’s Memento Collection establishing a tradition wherein each governor leaving office adds a piece representative of their time in the Mansion. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1962-06-10 12:01:57

Mansion Designated First Texas Historical Landmark

The Mansion was designated as the first Texas Historical Landmark, and received the first of thirty-two historic medallions awarded in Austin. Governor Daniel proclaimed June 10 “Texas Historical Building Medallion Day.” (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1963-06-01 12:01:57

First Lady Mrs. Connally Hosts Former First Ladies

First Lady Connally had a crucial role at the Mansion, often in charge of decorating and furnishing the home, and acted as hostess for thousands of visitors and guests. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1964-11-03 12:01:57

President and Mrs. Johnson Visit Mansion for Election Results

Governor Connally was close personal friends with President Lyndon B. Johnson, and he was a frequent visitor to the Mansion, even watching his presidential election results at the Mansion with the Connallys. Governor Connally postponed his own inauguration a week in order not to conflict with Johnson’s. (LBJ Library Photos by Cecil Stoughton & Yoichi Okamoto)

1969-07-01 12:01:57

Gov Smith Added Historical Marker Plaque to the Mansion

Governor Preston Smith and First Lady Ima Smith erected a plaque in dedication to the Mansion’s status as a Texas Historical Landmark. The twenty-seven by forty-two inch metal plaque was placed on a white brick wall near the iron gate that leads to the courtyard garden. A dedication ceremony was held with former Governor Allen Shivers as master of ceremonies. (Photo by Governor's Office)

1973-12-29 12:01:57

Janey, Gov Briscoe's Daugther, Marries at the Mansion

On the family’s first Christmas at the Mansion, Governor Dolph Briscoe’s daughter, Janey was married to Edward Gibson Vaughn in the Mansion, with siblings Cele Briscoe as maid of honor and Chip Briscoe as best man. She was the seventh daughter of a governor to be wed at the Mansion. The Governor and bride walked down the stairway which was entwined with roses into a garden illuminated by hundreds of candles. The altar was placed in front of the Grecian Garden. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1979-01-01 12:01:57

Gov and Mrs. Clements Oversee $1 Million Renovation to Mansion

William P. Clements was second Republican governor of Texas and the first in 105 years. When the family arrived, the Mansion was in such terrible disrepair the family moved into a condominium at Cambridge Tower. The 66th Legislature appropriated $1 million to improve the Mansion and another $2 million was raised by the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion. After the renovations were completed in 1982, Governor Clements hosted all living former governors and first ladies for dinner. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1983-01-18 12:01:57

Gov Mark White

Governor Mark White and his family were enthralled with the history of the Mansion, and First Lady Linda Gale spent much of her time educating her children about the house. New herb and vegetable gardens were established on the grounds. (Photo by John Jefferson)

1986-02-20 12:01:57

Prince Charles Visits Mansion for Sesquicentenial

Prince Charles visited the Mansion during Gov. Mark White’s administration in celebration of Texas Sesquicentennial, the state’s 150th birthday. He attended a ceremony on the State Capitol steps that included a 21-gun salute and a fly-over by the Texas Air National Guard, and he also cut the world's largest birthday cake in celebration of the big event. Before continuing his state tour to Houston and San Antonio, Prince Charles attended a concert in Austin featuring country singer Willie Nelson and the Austin symphony. (Photos Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

1991-05-20 13:27:50

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.

1995-01-17 12:01:57

Gov George W. Bush

Governor George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, and twin daughters Barbara and Jenna moved into the Mansion in the winter of 1995. They brought the family dog Spot and their cats Cowboy and India with them. On election night in 2000, Gov. Bush awaited the results of the presidential election in the Mansion where he had his viewing party. When he left the Governor’s Mansion for the White House, Lt. Gov. Rick Perry assumed his position and has remained in office.

2000-12-21 20:15:52

Gov Rick Perry

Governor Rick Perry, First Lady Anita Perry, and children Griffin and Sydney moved into the Mansion in February 2001. Over the next 14 years, the Perry’s welcomed daughter-in-law Meredith and granddaughter Ella to their family. The Mansion was also home to several Perry Family pets, including dogs Lady, Lucy and Rory. On June 8, 2008, the Governor's Mansion was severely damaged by arson. First Lady Anita Perry oversaw the restoration process, ensuring that the Mansion was restored back to its full glory. Gov. Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, having assumed the Governorship after then-Gov. George W. Bush resigned after being elected President, and was subsequently re-elected in 2002, 2006, and 2010.

2001-03-01 12:28:43

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.

Texas Governor's Mansion History

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