Naked City


'Sorry, Bob.'

That's what state Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, said as he voted, with his colleagues on the State Preservation Board, to put Woodlawn, aka the Pease Mansion, up for sale. (The SPB is the state agency that owns and manages the state's historic properties, including the Capitol and Governor's Mansion as well as Woodlawn.) Goolsby was addressing the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who had lobbied the state to buy Woodlawn -- a historic mansion in West Austin that was home to two Texas governors and is one of Austin's grandest homes -- and restore it as part of Texas' heritage. (Yes, Goolsby was looking toward heaven when he said it.)

Woodlawn was built by Gov. Elisha M. Pease, whose estate once included most of today's 78703 ZIP code. In later years, it was home to Gov. Allen Shivers, whose widow Marialice deeded the manse to the University of Texas. Shortly after her death in 1996 , UT sold the property to the state.

Unfortunately, neither UT nor the state ever had more than a vague idea of what to do with Woodlawn. While the State Preservation Board was preoccupied with restoring the Governor's Mansion and State Capitol, and building the Capitol Extension and Bullock Museum of Texas History, Woodlawn languished and now needs a host of repairs. Preliminary estimates put the value of the home at between $2.5 million and $3 million.

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