Monday, June 09, 2008

Texas Governor's Mansion Burns

Every once in a while, Jamie will wake me up in the morning with a non-sequitur, then leaves the bedroom. This has the effect that I often am unsure if I just dreamed whatever Jamie told me, or if it actually happened. Yesterday was such an occasion.

"The Governor's Mansion burned down."
"The Governor's Mansion caught on fire and burned down. Rick Perry wasn't there."
"So nobody got hurt."
"That's good."
And then she wanders off.

At this point, usually, Lucy jumps on the bed to get attention and Jeff the Cat starts meowing at me. Every morning is a party when I wake up.

Anyhow, I sat there blinking for a minute, trying to determine if I'd just dreamed the information about the Governor's Mansion, but I hadn't. Why it seemed so impossible for the Governor's Mansion to burn down, I don't know... The building was 150 years old. The fact that it hasn't burned down before is sort of a miracle.

Here's an AP story on the blaze.

Here's the official website.

When I heard that the cause might be arson, that sort of made more sense than a random fire. There's always drunk people and crazy hobos running around downtown. Add in the tinfoil helmet crowd, or even some overzealous activist, and it could be anybody, really.

Of course, there's also a considerable fence and wall around the Mansion... and I would have guessed better security than what must have been present. But... anyway, i don't think criticizing security in this case is particularly useful as I don't know the facts.

As you've no doubt heard, fortunately the Mansion was undergoing renovations, which meant that the antiques and artifacts of the Mansion had all been moved off-site and were not lost. And, Governor Perry had been living elsewhere during the renovation, so the fire did not claim his Wii or extensive Hummel figurine collection.

I am, of course, now kicking myself for never getting off my duff and going for a tour of the mansion at any point in the past, oh, 24 years when I've lived (on and off) in Austin.

People who live in New York don't go to see the Statue of Liberty or the UN building. I doubt Parisians hang out at the Eiffel Tower on the weekends. And I don't often take advantage of the historical artifacts, museums, etc.. that Austin has to offer. Certainly losing one of the buildings sort of puts things in perspective, and is a reminder that those places shouldn't be merely taken for granted.

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