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Before Rick Perry haunted the Texas Governor’s Mansion, it had a pretty interesting history.

2010 November 4

Sorry, folks, for the delay in this week’s post — I strained some arm and hand muscles from all the celebratory fist pumping I’ve been doing. What’s with all the fist pumping, you ask? Well, I happened to partake in a Halloween costume contest this Saturday, and was anointed, by way of crowd cheering, the undisputed champion of Halloween. And the bullies in school said I’d never amount to anything!


Grandpa defeats a 6'5" Little Red Riding Hood and some guy with a fish for a wang.

And as fun as Halloween is in a city thats pride and joy is “keeping itself weird,” the scariest thing the may have occurred in the last few days was the re-election of incumbent Republican candidate Rick Perry to the Texas governorship. This wasn’t just a narrow escape or hard-fought victory. This wasn’t just a small victory, but a pretty resounding butt whooping. And so, in 2012 when the state completes its renovations on the recently-torched Texas Governor’s mansion, Perry will resume residency there, continuing in a long line of governors who’ve lived in the same mansion since 1856.

The Governor’s Mansion is “the longest continuously inhabited household in Texas,” and amongst the oldest governor’s mansions in the United States. Over the years, several Governors have used the mansion as a gathering ground for local citizens, unlike Rick Perry, who might attack you with a broom. Sam Houston, for instance,  famously used the mansion to debate whether or not he would support Texas secession during the Civil War.


Designed by Abner Cook, the original Governor’s Mansion was only 11 rooms large and contained no bathrooms. Despite its grand vision and architecture, it was one of the last still-existent Governor’s Mansions to receive modern indoor plumbing, in 1914, meaning that over 50 years worth of Texas Governor’s had to go outside to poop. Interesting!

The first resident of the Governor’s Mansion, Elisha Pease, invited 500 local guests to view the then-new mansion, and fed them all dinner. Governor in 1941, Wilbert O’Daniel, also fed a large group of Texans at the mansion — 20,000 large. That’s not a typo — 20,000 Texans consumed 19,000 pounds of meat at a Governor-sponsored barbecue on the Mansion grounds. The dinner was so massive that special trenches had to be dug in order to properly cook all of the meat.

John Connally, the Texas Governor who rode in the motorcade with John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas, recovered from his wounds at the Governor’s mansion.

And finally, perhaps the most infamous, and unfortunate incident in the history of the Texas Governor’s mansion occurred in 2008 with the arson-fire that nearly destroyed the entire building.


Wilbert O'Daniel. Boy, that guy knew how to throw a party.

In the end, few buildings in Texas — perhaps only the Capitol — are as controversial as a symbol of the state as the Governor’s Mansion. Is it a symbol of wealth and class disparity; unnecessarily large and displaying an unworthy level of Texas gravitas? Or is it a marker of the people of the Texas; of their pride and capability of accomplishment, a beacon of the Texas way of life? That is an endless debate without a real answer. The only conclusion is that one way or another, the Governor’s Mansion is a magnificent structure. These days, you can even poop inside the building.

Who said Rick Perry doesn’t embrace “progress”?

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