A Tour of the Historic Texas Capitol Building

When in Austin Texas, a tour of the state’s beautiful and historic capitol building is both a fun and historically unique outing.

Texas State Capitol Building

The Texas State Capitol built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The capitol building is the largest state capitol by square footage in the entire country. It is also taller than the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. XIT Ranch and the Texas State Capitol The first thing to know about the Texas State Capitol Building is that it was built entirely from ranching funds and that the funds were made possible by the creation of the famous XIT Ranch. At one time the XIT ranch was the world’s largestunder fence and covered a part of ten counties.

Interior top of the Texas State Capitol Dome

Located in downtown Austin Texas and just south of the University of Texas campus, the state capitol was completed in 1886 and was financed  by 3,000,000 acres of public lands in the Texas Panhandle.This new capitol building replaced the previous one built in 1853 that was destroyed by fire. This structure would represent the fourth building housing Texas government. Another impressive historic structure nearby is the Driskill Hotel. Located at 604 Brazos Street, the Driskill Hotel was built in 1886 by cattleman Jesse Driskilland was frequently used by state legislators while the Texas State Capitol Building was being constructed several blocks to the north.

View from the middle of the rotunda

Building the Texas State Capitol There was a competition for plans and designs of the new capitol building which was won by a man named Elijah E. Meyers of Detroit Michigan. Myers also has to is credit the design of the Colorado State Capitol Building. After agreeing on the plans and design, the state legislature then searched for a contractor who would agree to build the massive 360,000 square foot structure in exchange for 3 million acres of land in Texas. An Illinois firm was chosen as the general contractor who in turn farmed out potions to other Illinois contractors. The sunset red granitemaking up the exterior walls was quarried from a site only fifty miles from Austin near Marble Falls Texas.  Granite cutters were actually brought in from Scotland for their expertise.

Restored gun used during Texas Revolution and Civil War at entrance to Texas State Capitol Building

Texas State capitol Grounds The grounds surrounding the Texas State Capitol comprise 22 acres. Here you can view several very unique monuments, the first installed in 1891. This first monument was in honer of the Heroes of the Alamo. In all there are seventeen monuments that surround the capitol building. Among other monuments on the capitol grounds are the Confederate Soldiers, Terry’s Texas Rangers and Volunteer Fireman and the Tejano Monument. The Tejano Monument is comprised of 11 life size bronze statues crafted by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa commemorating the contributions of Texas’ Spanish and Mexican settlers. Another interesting statue found on the Texas State Capitol grounds is a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This statue was created in 1952 Also on the Texas State Capitol grounds are native Texas trees, historic markers and cannons. There are a total of twenty-five tree species found on the capitol grounds. The Trail of Trees takes about one hour to cover. For a brochure detailing this trail on the Texas capitol grounds see website http://isatexas.com/Members/Trail_of_Trees_at_the_Texas_Capitol.htm Below are links to additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy… Touring the Texas Hill Country The Confederate Navy

Monument on grounds of Texas State Capitol

Interesting Facts About the Texas State Capitol Building When the state capitol was completed after four years of construction in 1886 it co