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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Mike Clark-Madison
Amid Chaos and Crisis, the 87th Texas Legislature Gets to Work
Amid Chaos and Crisis, the 87th Texas Legislature Gets to Work
Can we rebuild a democracy?

Jan. 15, 2021

Austin at Large: Forget the Alamo
Austin at Large: Forget the Alamo
It’s strike three for Texas in the white-power rebellion game. Time to call folks out.

Jan. 15, 2021

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle