The Governor’s Mansion Renovation Has Some Preservationists Wringing Their Hands

The recent renovation to the state's most historic home left some preservationists worried that the changes to the mansion would be too significant.
Controversy Behind the Renovation
Photo by Bob Daemmrich

First Lady Anita Perry appeared nervous and excited one morning earlier this month as she guided reporters through the Governor’s Mansion, open for the first time since June 8, 2008, when an arsonist’s Molotov cocktail ignited a blaze that took one hundred firefighters and two million gallons of water to squelch.

Perry pointed at the painting of Governor Sam Houston in the small parlor—which, like the rest of the mansion’s prized possessions was in storage at the time of the fire due to maintenance repairs—and said, “He watches over this home. He is our guardian.”

Entering the formal dining room, Perry said that Janey Briscoe, one her favorite first ladies, was a Texas Tech fan and had decorated the room with red wallpaper. The walls were later painted blue, only she thought the color too dark so Perry requested to have the sheers on the windows left open.

Elsewhere on Perry’s sneak peak of the immaculate restoration of the Greek Revival property that was built by Abner Cook in 1856, she pointed to enhancements like the fire suppression system, heightened security, energy-efficient geo-exchange heating and cooling system, plus all the creature comforts

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