Texas State Capitol
At the time of its construction, the capitol building was billed as "The Seventh Largest Building in the World."
|Location||Congress and 11th Sts|
Austin, Texas, U.S.
|Area||51.4 acres (20.8 ha)|
|Architect||Elijah E. Myers|
|Architectural style||Italian Renaissance Revival|
|NRHP reference #||70000770|
|Added to NRHP||June 22, 1970|
|Designated NHL||June 23, 1986|
|Designated TSAL||May 28, 1981|
The Texas State Capitol is the capitol building and seat of government of the American state of Texas. Located in downtown Austin, Texas, the structure houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and of the Governor of Texas. Designed in 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed from 1882 to 1888 under the direction of civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker. A $75 million underground extension was completed in 1993. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
The seat of government is "the building, complex of buildings or the city from which a government exercises its authority".
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
Downtown Austin is the central business district of Austin, Texas. Downtown is located on the north bank of the Colorado River. The approximate borders of Downtown include Lamar Boulevard to the west, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and the University of Texas at Austin to the north, Interstate 35 to the east, and Lady Bird Lake to the south.
The Texas State Capitol is 302.64 feet (92.24 m) tall, making it the sixth tallest state capitol and one of several taller than the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The capitol was ranked ninety-second in the 2007 "America's Favorite Architecture" poll commissioned by the American Institute of Architects.
The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District's street-numbering system and the District's four quadrants.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
"America's Favorite Architecture" is a list of buildings and other structures identified as the most popular works of architecture in the United States.
The current Texas State Capitol is the third building to serve that purpose. The second Texas capitol was built in 1853, on the same site as the present capitol in Austin; it was destroyed in the great capitol fire of 1881, but plans had already been made to replace it with a new, much larger structure.
Construction of the Italian Renaissance Revival–style capitol was funded by an article of the state constitution, adopted on February 15, 1876, which authorized the sale of public lands for the purpose. In one of the largest barter transactions of recorded history, the builders of the capitol (John V. Farwell and Charles B. Farwell), known as the Capitol Syndicate, were paid with more than three million acres (12,000 km²) of public land in the "Panhandle" region of Texas; this tract later became the largest cattle ranch in the world, the XIT Ranch. The value of the land, combined with expenses, added to a total cost of $3.7 million for the original building. It was constructed largely by convicts or migrant workers, as many as a thousand at a time. The building has been renovated several times, with central air conditioning installed in 1955 and the most recent refurbishments completed in 1997.
Renaissance Revival architecture is a group of 19th century architectural revival styles which were neither Greek Revival nor Gothic Revival but which instead drew inspiration from a wide range of classicizing Italian modes. Under the broad designation "Renaissance architecture" nineteenth-century architects and critics went beyond the architectural style which began in Florence and central Italy in the early 15th century as an expression of Humanism; they also included styles we would identify as Mannerist or Baroque. Self-applied style designations were rife in the mid- and later nineteenth century: "Neo-Renaissance" might be applied by contemporaries to structures that others called "Italianate", or when many French Baroque features are present.
In trade, barter is a system of exchange where participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. Economists distinguish barter from gift economies in many ways; barter, for example, features immediate reciprocal exchange, not delayed in time. Barter usually takes place on a bilateral basis, but may be multilateral. In most developed countries, barter usually only exists parallel to monetary systems to a very limited extent. Market actors use barter as a replacement for money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, such as when currency becomes unstable or simply unavailable for conducting commerce.
John Villiers Farwell Sr. was an American merchant and philanthropist from New York City. Moving to Chicago, Illinois at a young age, he joined Wadsworth & Phelps, eventually rising to be senior partner as John V. Farwell & Co.. He was also a mentor and brief joint partner with Marshall Field, (1834-1906), in the firm Farwell, Field & Co. from 1862-1865, before Field moved on with other partners to eventually establish his own famous prototype of the modern department store at Marshall Field and Company. Farwell was a leader in several Christian philanthropic efforts including the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the United States Christian Commission during the American Civil War, and was a believer and supporter of the evangelical works of Dwight L. Moody. Later, he served as an Indian agent and had large land holdings in Texas. He and his brother, Senator Charles B. Farwell, of Illinois, are the namesake of Farwell, Texas.
The designers originally planned for the building to be clad entirely with hill country limestone quarried in Oatmanville (present-day Oak Hill), about 10 miles (16 km) to the southwest. However, the high iron content of the limestone led it to discolor rapidly with rust stains when exposed to the elements. Learning of the problem, the owners of Granite Mountain near Marble Falls offered to donate to the state, free of charge, the necessary amount of sunset red granite as an alternative. To transport the red granite, the Austin and Northwestern Railroad was extended 2.3 miles (3.7 km) to accommodate the transportation from Granite Mountain. Due to a bend in the tracks, trains would occasionally derail, accidentally dumping some of the pink granite. Many of the fallen rocks remain in place and are a local point of interest. While the building is mostly built of the Oak Hill limestone, most of this is hidden behind the walls and on the foundations. Red granite was subsequently used for many state government buildings in the Austin area. The project's 900 workers included 86 granite cutters brought from Scotland.
Stone cladding is a thin layer of real or simulated stone applied to a building or other structure made of a material other than stone. Stone cladding is sometimes applied to concrete and steel buildings as part of their original architectural design.
The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region located in the Edwards Plateau at the crossroads of West Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas. Given its location, climate, terrain, and vegetation, the Hill Country can be considered the border between the American Southwest and Southeast.
Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolomite, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolomite was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolomites or magnesium-rich limestones.
The cornerstone for the building was laid on March 2, 1885, Texas Independence Day, and the building was opened to the public on April 21, 1888, San Jacinto Day, before its completion. The building was officially dedicated by Texas State Senator Temple Houston on May 18, 1888.The dedication ceremony was marked by a weeklong celebration from May 14–19, 1888, that attracted nearly 20,000 visitors and included events such as military drill demonstrations, cattle roping, baseball games, German choral singing, and fireworks. Guests were able to purchase souvenirs such as pieces of red granite and copies of a song written by composer and pianist Leonora Rives-Diaz called the "State Capitol Grand Waltz".
Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document signed by 59 delegates, settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.
A pianist is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.
In 1931, the City of Austin enacted a local ordinance limiting the height of new buildings to a maximum of 200 feet (61 m), aiming to preserve the visual preeminence of the capitol. From that time until the early 1960s, only the University of Texas Main Building Tower was built higher than the limit, but in 1962 developers announced a new 261-foot (80 m) high-rise residential building to be built adjacent to the capitol, called the Westgate Tower. Governor Price Daniel voiced his opposition to the proposed tower, and State Representative Henry Grover of Houston introducing a bill to condemn the property, which was defeated in the Texas House of Representatives by only two votes. The Westgate was eventually completed in 1966, but the controversy over the preservation of the capitol's visual presence that dogged its construction continued to grow.
The Westgate was followed by even taller structures: first the Dobie Center (designed in 1968), and then a series of ever larger downtown bank towers, culminating in the 395-foot (120 m) One American Center (designed in 1982). In early 1983, inspired by the Westgate and these other structures, State Senator Lloyd Doggett and State Representative Gerald Hill advanced a bill proposing a list of protected "Capitol View Corridors" along which construction would not be permitted, so as to protect the capitol's visibility from a series of points around Austin. The bill was signed into law on May 3, 1983, defining thirty state-protected viewing corridors and prohibiting any construction that would intersect one of them. The City of Austin has adopted similar rules, so that the majority of the corridors are also protected under municipal zoning code, as well as under state law.
On February 6, 1983, a fire began in the apartment of William P. Hobby Jr., then the state lieutenant governor. A guest of Hobby's was killed, and four firemen and a policeman were injured by the subsequent blaze. The capitol was crowded with accumulated archives, and the fire was intense and came dangerously close to destroying the structure. It caused severe damage to the east wing and compromised much of the framing, which was largely composed of exposed cast iron posts and beams.
Following the fire, the state took advantage of the extensive rebuilding to update the mechanical and structural systems to modern standards. In November 1985, the original Goddess of Liberty statue on top of the dome was removed by helicopter. A new statue, cast of aluminum in molds made from the original zinc statue, was placed on the dome in June 1986. The original statue was restored and displayed on the Capitol grounds in a special structure built for it in 1995; it was later moved to the Bullock Texas State History Museum in 2001.
The Old Texas Land Office, on the Capitol grounds, was rebuilt and updated between 1988 and 1990, after which the Capitol Visitors Center was moved there, freeing space in the Capitol. Previously, the building had housed the Texas Confederate Museum, which began in a ground floor room of the Capitol (1903–1920), before moving to the Land Office building.
Additionally, the state sought to address the intensifying shortage of space in the old building, deciding that a new office wing should be added. The logical place for an addition was the plaza immediately to the north; however, a large building there would have eliminated the historic north façade and covered what had traditionally been seen as an important public space. Instead, an expansion to the capitol was built beneath the north plaza, connecting to the existing capitol underground.
In 1993, the $75 million, four-story, underground capitol extension was completed to the north, doubling the square footage available to capitol occupants and providing much-improved functionality. Though the extension encompasses 667,000 square feet (62,000 m2) (nearly twice the floor space of the original building), there is little evidence of such a large structure at ground level, except for extensive skylights camouflaged as planter rows, and the four-story open-air inverted rotunda.
In 1995, a comprehensive interior and exterior restoration of the original building was completed at a cost of approximately $98 million. In 1997, the park-like grounds surrounding the capitol received an $8 million renovation and restoration.
The Texas State Capitol and grounds are located on a hilltop overlooking downtown Austin, with the main entrance facing onto the Congress Avenue Historic District to the south, for which it forms a terminating vista. The northern edge of the capitol grounds lies four blocks south of the University of Texas at Austin.
The capitol is a roughly rectangular building with a four-story central block, symmetrical three-story wings extending to the east and west, and a dome rising from the center. It is built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style and modeled on the design of the United States Capitol, but with its exterior clad with local red granite. 360,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of floor space (not including the Capitol Extension), more than any other state capitol building, and rests on a 2.25-acre (0.91 ha) footprint. The building has nearly four hundred rooms and more than nine hundred windows.It contains
The interior of the central portion forms an open rotunda beneath the dome. Massive cast-iron staircases flanking the rotunda connect the various levels of the building. The two chambers of the Texas Legislature (the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives) meet in large double-height spaces in the centers of the two wings on the second floor, overlooked by public galleries on the third floor. The remainder of the building is filled with office space, courts, and archives; additional offices fill the underground extension.
The central rotunda is hung with portraits of all the past presidents of the Republic of Texas and governors of the State of Texas; the rotunda is also a whispering gallery. The south foyer features a large portrait of David Crockett, a painting depicting the surrender of General Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, and sculptures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin made by Elisabet Ney. The Texas Confederate Museum was held in a room on the first floor from its opening in 1903 until 1920, when it was moved into the General Land Office Building (today the Capitol Visitors Center).
The Capitol building is surrounded by 22 acres (8.9 ha) of grounds scattered with statues and monuments. William Munro Johnson, civil engineer, was hired in 1888 to improve the appearance of the grounds. By the time the first monument, commemorating the Heroes of the Alamo, was installed in 1891, the major components of Johnson's plan were in place. These included a "Great Walk" of black and white diamond-patterned pavement shaded by trees. The four oldest monuments are the Heroes of the Alamo Monument (1891), Volunteer Firemen Monument (1896), Confederate Soldiers Monument (1903) and Terry's Texas Rangers Monument (1907), and these flank the tree-lined Great Walk. In the spring of 2013, ground was broken for the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument; dedication took place on March 29, 2014.
A granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was the topic of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Van Orden v. Perry, in which the display was challenged as unconstitutional. In late June 2005, the Court ruled that the display was not unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin State Capitol, in Madison, Wisconsin, houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. Completed in 1917, the building is the fifth to serve as the Wisconsin capitol since the first territorial legislature convened in 1836 and the third building since Wisconsin was granted statehood in 1848. The Wisconsin State Capitol is the tallest building in Madison, a distinction that has been preserved by legislation that prohibits buildings taller than the columns surrounding the dome. The Capitol is located at the southwestern end of the Madison Isthmus. The streets surrounding the building form the Capitol Square, which is home to many restaurants and shops.
The Georgia State Capitol is an architecturally and historically significant building in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The building has been named a National Historic Landmark which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the primary office building of Georgia's government, the capitol houses the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state on the second floor, chambers in which the General Assembly, consisting of the Georgia State Senate and Georgia House of Representatives, meets annually from January to April. The fourth floor houses visitors' galleries overlooking the legislative chambers and a museum located near the rotunda in which a statue of Miss Freedom caps the dome.
The Wyoming State Capitol is the state capitol and seat of government of the U.S. state of Wyoming. Built between 1886 and 1890, the capitol is located in Cheyenne and contains the chambers of the Wyoming State Legislature as well as the office of the Governor of Wyoming. It was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark during 1987. The Capitol is currently closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen mid-2019.
The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in Richmond, the third capital city of the U.S. state of Virginia. It houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America, the Virginia General Assembly, first established as the House of Burgesses in 1619.
The Arkansas State Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the Arkansas General Assembly, and the seat of the Arkansas state government that sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the Capitol Mall in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Washington State Capitol or Legislative Building in Olympia is the home of the government of the state of Washington. It contains chambers for the Washington State Legislature and offices for the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and treasurer and is part of a campus consisting of several buildings. Buildings for the Washington Supreme Court, executive agencies and the Washington Governor's Mansion are part of the capitol campus.
The California State Capitol is home to the government of the U.S. state of California. The building houses the bicameral state legislature and the office of the governor. Located in Sacramento, the Neoclassical structure was completed between 1861 and 1874 at the west end of Capitol Park, which is framed by L Street to the north, N Street to the south, 10th Street to the west, and 15th Street to the east.
The Florida State Capitol, located in Tallahassee, Florida, is an architecturally and historically significant building, having been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The capitol is located at the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street in downtown Tallahassee, Florida, the state capital.
The Utah State Capitol is the house of government for the U.S. state of Utah. The building houses the chambers and offices of the Utah State Legislature, the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, the State Auditor and their staffs. The capitol is the main building of the Utah State Capitol Complex, which is located on Capitol Hill, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City.
The Pennsylvania State Capitol is the seat of government for the U.S. state of Pennsylvania located in downtown Harrisburg which was designed by architect Joseph Miller Huston in 1902 and completed in 1906 in a Beaux-Arts style with decorative Renaissance themes throughout. The capitol houses the legislative chambers for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Harrisburg chambers for the Supreme and Superior Courts of Pennsylvania, as well as the offices of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor. It is also the main building of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex.
The Missouri State Capitol is the building that houses the legislative and executive branches of the government of the U.S. state of Missouri, as well as the Missouri General Assembly. Located in Jefferson City at 201 West Capitol Avenue, it is the third capitol in the city after the other two were demolished when they were damaged in fires. The domed building, designed by the New York City architectural firm of Tracy and Swartwout, was completed in 1917.
The Oregon State Capitol is the building housing the state legislature and the offices of the governor, secretary of state, and treasurer of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located in the state capital, Salem. Constructed from 1936 to 1938 and expanded in 1977, the current building is the third to house the Oregon state government in Salem. The first two capitols in Salem were destroyed by fire, one in 1855 and the other in 1935.
The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, is the state capitol building of the U.S. state of Mississippi, intended to house all three forms of government Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and designated a Mississippi Landmark in 1986 and a National Historic Landmark in 2016.
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., built 1818–1824. It is located below the Capitol dome, built 1857–1866; the later construction also extended the height of the rotunda walls. It is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart."
Frank Teich was an American sculptor, stone carver and businessman, often referred to as the father of the Texas granite industry.
The Westgate Tower is a mixed-use high-rise building in downtown Austin, Texas. The twenty-six-story 261-foot (80 m) tower block was designed in 1962 and completed in 1966; its name reflects its location across the street from the west gate of the Texas State Capitol. Designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, the tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 and designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 2012.
The Capitol View Corridors are a series of legal restrictions on construction in Austin, Texas aimed at preserving the visibility of the Texas State Capitol from various points around the city. First established by the Texas Legislature in 1983 and recodified in 2001, the corridors are meant to protect the capitol dome from obstruction by high-rise buildings. The corridors significantly limit the potential for the development of new tall structures in downtown Austin.
The Hood's Texas Brigade Monument is an outdoor memorial commemorating members of John B. Hood's Texas Brigade who fought in the Army of Northern Virginia from 1861 to 1865, installed on the Texas State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas, United States. The monument was sculptured by Pompeo Coppini and erected in 1910. It features a gray granite shaft with hand-carved quotes by leaders of the Confederacy, topped by a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier.
The Volunteer Firemen Monument is an outdoor memorial commemorating Texan volunteer firefighters who died while in service, installed on the Texas State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas, United States. It was erected by the State Firemen's Association of Texas in 1896, and modified in 1905. The monument features a bronze sculpture of a fireman carrying a child in his left arm and a lantern in his opposite, designed by J. Segesman. The statue rests on a granite base designed by Frank Teich, which has a ring of granite pillars with inscribed names of volunteers. According to the Texas State Preservation Board, the memorial has "historical omissions and errors", which have been kept.
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