The Oldest Building in Austin
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The Oldest Building in Austin

Have you ever wondered what is the oldest building in Austin? Did you know log structured homes were the norm until the French settled here?

The Oldest Building in Austin

The oldest frame building in Austin is known as the French Legation Museum. It was built in 1841 soon after the French and US officially declared Texas independence from Mexico. The French Legation was considered a swanky structure compared to most log buildings and still stands strong while unfortunately, the log buildings of Austin were destroyed during the Archive War of 1842. The French Legation Museum as it stands today (shown below).

The Austin French Legation was built for French settlement. Monsieur Jean Pierre Isidore Alphonse Dubois, a secretary of the French Legation in Washington was sent to Austin to sustain an official presence in the State of Texas. It wasn't too long that Dubois had troubles with hotelkeeper, Richard Bullock over the Dubois farmstead. This eventually resulted to a temporary split between the France and Republic of Texas and Dubois was recalled by the French Governments in 1846.

The French Legation was later occupied by the first Bishop of Diocese of Galveston and Moseley Baker, a Texas Revolution hero in 1847. A doctor by the name of Joseph W. Robertson purchased the estate from Baker, where his family resided until 1940. By 1945, the State of Texas purchased the estate and the property was under the care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who established the French Legation Museum. The iconic building was restored and open to the public in 1956.

The French Legation Museum is a gorgeous site and available for special events such as weddings and private parties. I have had the pleasure of planning a wedding on the premises and it is by far my favorite outdoor venue in Austin. It sits on two and half acres of amazing landscape and can accommodate up to 2,000 people. The French Legation also has a beautiful Carriage House Loft perfect for small parties of 35 people. It is a spectacular historical landmark and certainly a great place to visit. For more information, please visit The French Legation.

The French Legation is currently closed for restoration. Once essential historic preservation work is completed and the site re-opened to the public, the French Legation will formally take its place as the newest addition to the now-22 state historic sites operated by the THC.

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