AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The ousted former caretakers of the Alamo are now struggling to keep up with another piece of Texas history.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who managed the Alamo for more than a century before the state accused the group of neglect and took over last year, say an ensuing legal battle is causing a budget crunch that is jeopardizing care of the French Legation museum in Austin.
The Daughters have spent upward of $275,000 thus far suing the state in an effort to retain ownership of the Alamo Library and a documents collection, the Houston Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1NmWDzi ).
Betty Edwards, the president-general of the Daughters, said they have asked the state to cover nearly $2 million in repairs and renovations needed at the Legation, which is the only existing building in Austin from when Texas was its own country. The state purchased the building in 1948 and the Daughters have run the museum since 1956.
“Without state money at this point in time, our concern is what’s going to happen to the house, to the status of the house,” Edwards said.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush wrested control of the Alamo from the Daughters shortly after taking office last year. The change followed years of squabbling within the Daughters that became public and accusations of mismanagement over Texas’ most popular tourist attraction.
Group officials confirmed that in recent weeks, the Legation’s operational budget was cut to just $22,000, a move that has left the museum without full-time staff.
The house was built in 1841 as the official residence for a French diplomat assigned to Austin after France recognized the Republic of Texas as a country. The Legation was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and it is listed as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
Texas Facilities Commission executive director Harvey Hilderbrand said his agency may ask lawmakers for more funding next year but said the Legation is “not our highest priority.” He added that his agency has no plans to operate the property.
The Daughters of oversee operations of six properties, including its headquarters. Edwards said the group’s other properties are not having financial problems, but the Legation is not “economically stable.” The Legation sees about 18,000 visitors per year, she said, but the museum has problems “earning enough money on its own.”