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PRESIDENT'S HOUSE

Caroline B. Bass

PRESIDENT'S HOUSE. When the seat of government of the Republic of Texas was moved to Austin in 1839, a temporary capitol building, public offices, and an official residence for President Mirabeau B. Lamar were planned and constructed by Edwin Waller . The hilltop site selected for the house was identified as block 85 on the original city plan and contained twelve lots, bounded by Brazos, San Jacinto, Bois d'Arc (now Seventh), and Hickory (now Eighth) streets. A two-story white frame house described as having some pretensions to Greek styling, with a two-tiered portico in the Greek Doric order, was built during the summer of 1839 and occupied by President Lamar in mid-October that year. After Lamar left office in 1841, the hastily built official residence, as well as the temporary capitol, were left unoccupied and steadily deteriorated. The seat of government was moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1842, and by the time Austin was redesignated the capital in 1845, Congress had voted for annexation. The President's House was destroyed by fire in March 1847. The site was occupied by St. Mary's Academy, a private school for girls, from 1885 until 1947. The building was demolished and the hill leveled in 1954. An official Texas Centennial marker was lost when the ownership changed, and a Texas Sesquicentennial marker replaced the original plaque. Both marker dedications were sponsored by the William B. Travis Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Located in Austin's historic downtown district, block 85 is now the site of Austin Centre, an office building and hotel. The site received national recognition in 1996 when the Texas Society Colonial Dames XVII Century and the Embassy Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century dedicated an official plaque in the Austin Centre atrium.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Hank Todd Smith, ed., Austin, Its Architects and Architecture (Austin Chapter, American Institute of Architects, 1986). Alexander W. Terrell, "The City of Austin from 1839 to 1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 14 (October 1910).

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Caroline B. Bass, "PRESIDENT'S HOUSE," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ccplg.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 6, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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