Four years after sustaining extensive arson fire damage, the $25 million restoration of the Texas governor's mansion, located at 11th Street and San Jacinto Boulevard, is complete.
Gov. Rick Perry announced the completion July 18 outside the mansion flanked by three Austin Fire Department members who responded to the 2008 fire along with their families, First Lady Anita Perry and others associated with the restoration.
"Today, I get to say the six words I've wanted to say for a long time now," Perry said. "Welcome to the Texas governor's mansion."
On June 8, 2008, an unidentified arsonist threw a Molotov cocktail on the front porch of the 156-year-old mansion causing significant structural and architectural damage. According to the governor's office, 100 firefighters responded to the fire, and it required an estimated 2 million gallons of water.
In 2009, the Texas Legislature approved a $21.5 million appropriation for restoration. Mrs. Perry raised an additional $3.5 million in private donations.
The restoration included a new roof, repairs to the exterior masonry, restoration of the columns and porches, renovations to the kitchen, and the installation of a new geoexchange system aimed at providing more energy efficient heating and cooling.
In 2007, the first family had moved out due to a planned maintenance project. At the time of the fire, no one was living at the mansion and all historical furnishings, art work and valuables had been placed in storage.
An updated fire sprinkler system has also been installed. It had been among the planned maintenance project and was not in place during the fire.
Built in 1856, the mansion is the fourth-oldest, continuously occupied governor's residence in the country and the oldest governor's mansion west of the Mississippi River.