Perrys Celebrate Restored Governor’s Mansion
Four years ago a fire nearly destroyed the Texas Governor’s Mansion.
Today, the restored building was on display for the first time, after a $25 million rebuilding effort.
Under the shade of a giant live oak, Governor Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry welcomed Texans back to what’s called “the front porch of Texas.”
“I get to say the six words I’ve been waiting a very long time to say, welcome to the Texas Governor’s Mansion,” said Gov. Perry.
Four years ago, in a case that remains unsolved, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the mansion’s front door. The fire quickly spread and came very close to burning the mansion to the ground.
Perry praised the Austin Fire Department for saving the building.
“Had that fire not been controlled by these great professionals…had they not put their lives on the line…there may be a new structure here. But it would not have been the original Texas governor’s mansion,” said Perry.
The Perry’s plan on moving into the mansion by the end of the month. With a tentative plan to host an official event with the families of former governors in August.
The Perrys were in Sweden when the fire happened. Mrs. Perry recounted getting a call from her daughter letting her know the mansion was burning. She remembered crying several times about the loss of history. But walking around the first floor, it looks just as did before the fire.
“It’s a little surreal,” sais Mrs. Perry. “I have little goose bumps just thinking about being here. It’s like we never left. But now we step back into history and we’re delighted to have it open for the citizens of Texas.”
There are several modern updates. The home is now fully wheelchair accessible, including an elevator. It’s also now a LEED-certified green building that uses solar and geothermal to help reduce the building’s energy use.
But even on a day meant to celebrate the building, politics did play a small role.
Governor Perry was asked if he planned on living in the mansion past 2014, when his current term runs out.
“I think in June of 2013 would be a better time to query me on that,” said Perry.
Tours of the mansion will begin later this year.