Historic furnishings begin move back to Governor's Mansion

Marilyn Tennissen Jun. 26, 2012, 5:58am

As the Texas Governor's Mansion nears completion, pieces from the historic Mansion Collection are being installed and moved back into the home on June 20.

As the massive restoration of the Texas Governor's Mansion from a 2008 arson fire nears completion, pieces from the historic Governor's Mansion Collection are being moved back into the home.

Owned and curated by the non-profit Friends of the Governor's Mansion, the collection was removed for a maintenance project started in October 2007. But what began as a deferred maintenance project became a major restoration effort following a massive fire set by an unidentified arsonist in June 2008.

The restoration has been made possible by nearly $3.5 million in private donations and a $21.5 million appropriation by the Texas Legislature.

"The historic Texas Governor's Mansion has been a symbol of Texas pride and resilience for decades, and now as its restoration nears completion, we enter a new chapter in its history," Texas First Lady Anita Perry said. "Returning these important pieces to their rightful place in the Governor's Mansion brings us one step closer to completing the restoration of this Texas treasure, which is one of the cornerstones of our state's rich heritage."

The return of the collection marks the first stage of the move phase of the Governor's Mansion restoration.

The Governor's Mansion Collection is composed of historic state-owned pieces that have been in the Governor's Mansion and museum-quality American antiques dating back to the earliest years of the state's history.

Some of the well-known pieces include the bed used by Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin's writing desk and portraits of Gov. and Mrs. Pease, who was in office when the Governor's Mansion was built in 1856.

The collection also includes the Governors' Memento Collection, a tradition started in the l960s by Texas First Lady Jean Houston Daniel.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is still seeking the arsonist who set fire to the mansion in 2008 and has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information related to the Texas Governor's Mansion arson is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 252-TIPS (8477) or the State Fire Marshal's Arson Hotline at (988) 252-8477.

The first family is expected to move back into the Governor's Mansion, the home of 40 Texas governors, when the project is completed late next month.

For more information about the status of the Governor's Mansion Restoration, please contact the State Preservation Board at (512) 463-5495.

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