Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Real Places 2018: Insider Tour of the French Legation State Historic Site

Day/Time: Thursday, January 11, 9:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Location: Meet in Hotel Lobby
Speakers: Ellen Cone Busch and H. Glenn Reed, Texas Historical Commission

Registration Information
Limited to 24 attendees
NOTE: Participants in this tour will miss the Thursday morning breakout sessions.

Changes are in the works for Austin’s historic French Legation, which is currently closed to the public for much-needed stabilization and restoration work. Join the Texas Historical Commission’s Historic Sites Division staff for an insider’s tour of the house and grounds, and a discussion of the site’s past, present, and future evolution as a symbol of Texas’ heritage and refuge for the Austin community.

During the Republic of Texas era (1836–1845), the French government formally acknowledged Texas’ status as a sovereign nation by appointing a charge d’affaires, who constructed a legation in Austin with a view overlooking the small capitol. The French Legation stands today as one of the oldest buildings in the city and witness to generations of growth and change in Texas. The house’s significance was recognized by its last resident, Lillie Robertson, who offered tours in her later years. Its public life was formalized after her death when, under state ownership, it opened as a museum in 1956, with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas as custodians. In June 2017, Governor Abbott signed legislation transferring the French Legation to the Texas Historical Commission, and the Legislative Budget Board allocated emergency funds to address needed stabilization and restoration work.


Ellen Cone Busch has been with the Texas Historical Commission for five years as a director of historic sites operations, overseeing roughly half of the agency’s 22 sites. Much of her work is focused on historic house museums and the unique challenges of keeping them sustainable, meaningful, and engaging destinations.


H. Glenn Reed has been the chief architect of the Historic Sites Division of the Texas Historical Commission since the division was formed in 2008. He oversees the preservation and maintenance of architectural resources at the THC’s 22 state historic sites.