Today in Texas History – April 15

From the Annals of the French –  In keeping with this week’s museum theme, in 1956, the restored French Legation was opened to the public.  The site is in East Austin adjacent to the Texas State Cemetery.   France was the only country other than the United States to recognize the Republic of Texas.  France sent Jean Pierre Isidore Alphonse Dubois, from the French Legation in Washington, to be the chargé d’affaires  in Texas.  Dubois was instructed to to remain in Austin to maintain an official presence there.  The legation building was completed in 1840-1841, and probably was the finest structure in Austin at the time. Dubois entertained dignitaries (such as were available) and worked with the government to bring French settlers to Texas.  After the capital was temporarily moved from Austin, the legation was abandoned. It was then occupied by the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese  Galveston.  Dr. Joseph W. Robertson later bought the estate where he and descendants lived 1940. In 1945, the State purchased the site and gave custody to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who established the French Legation Museum in 1949. The DRT restored the legation building and grounds and opened the site to the public on this date in 1956.  It is the oldest house in Austin.

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