While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Roxanne Williamson
Woodlawn Mansion
Photograph, Woodlawn Mansion in Austin, Texas. Once owned by Governor Elisha Pease, it is presently owned by the Shivers family. Image courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission provided to The Portal to Texas History. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Woodlawn Mansion Deed of Sale
Woodlawn Mansion Deed of Sale. Courtesy of the Portal to Texas History. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

WOODLAWN MANSION. Woodlawn is the largest of the four remaining two-story Greek Revival mansions built in the 1850s by Austin's master builder Abner H. Cook. Designed for James B. Shaw, Texas state comptroller, the house was finished in 1853, one year before Cook built the Governor's Mansion. The house is made of local brick, probably from Cook's own kilns, and is distinguished by a fine east-facing front portico with two-story Ionic columns and a small balcony at the second story center hall. The floor plan of the main block, like the Governor's Mansion, has two large rooms facing each side of a wide center hall. The north side of Woodlawn, however, has an additional small ell-shaped porch with three two-story Doric columns. In the twentieth century the considerable acreage surrounding the house was developed into a neighborhood of elegant homes, and the mansion is now on a large, beautifully landscaped lot at 6 Niles Road. Almost as soon as the building was completed Shaw abandoned the idea of living there because of family tragedies. On June 13, 1859, Governor Elisha Marshall Pease bought Woodlawn, and it remained in his family for many years. In 1957 Governor Allan Shivers and his wife refurbished Woodlawn as their home and had the brick painted pale pink. In 1961 the Texas Historical Commission erected a historical marker on the house. In 1994 the Shivers family still owned the house.


Dorothy Kendall Bracken and Maurine Whorton Redway, Early Texas Homes (Dallas: Southern Methodist University, 1956). Kenneth Hafertepe, Abner Cook: Master Builder on the Texas Frontier (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1992). Andree Abell Petticrew, Abner Cook, Master Builder (Waco: Texian Press, 1985). David Elmore Wark, Abner Hugh Cook: Master Builder and Citizen of Austin (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1981). Roxanne Williamson, Austin, Texas: An American Architectural History (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1973).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Roxanne Williamson, "WOODLAWN MANSION," accessed July 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ccw01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 6, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...