Located on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, the Texas Capitol is one of the largest in the United States. It was modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and was constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The Capitol is surrounded by twenty monuments and is a popular tourist attraction.
A Rich History Of The Texas Capitol
The original Capitol was constructed in 1853. However, it was destroyed by fire in 1881. That year, Texas launched a national architectural competition to find a new Capitol. In 1880, the State of Texas began construction on a new Capitol. Elijah E. Myers, a civil engineer from San Antonio, designed the building. His plans were almost lost in the fire. But his design was approved.
The new Capitol was built in the Renaissance Revival style. It is 15 feet higher than the National Capitol and the interior features marble sculptures while the floor is terrazzo. The exterior features limestone, iron particles, and red granite from Granite Mountain. The foundation is limestone, but the limestone was discolored after it was laid.
A Cozy Interior For Visitors
A small gift shop is inside, and guided tours are offered every half hour. The building is free to visit, and the restrooms are open to the public. You can also take a self-guided tour, or hire a guide for a more in-depth look at the history of the Lone Star State.
The state capitol’s atrium features a progression of paintings by governors and a series of detailed door hinges. The chandeliers are decorated with glittering crystals. There are bathrooms on the first floor, and the Senate and House of Representatives chambers are on the second floor.
In the 1980s, the building underwent a major restoration. The rotunda, or circular room, is enclosed in a “double-dome” structure fabricated in Belgium. It measures 266 feet from the floor to the crown.
A Rich Landscape With A Touch Of Art
Landscaping of the grounds was elaborate. There were evergreen trees and shrubbery, “shade trees” on the front, and an iron fence. You can also see curved carriage drives with limestone curbs, and elm trees on the capitol front grounds.
The Texas Capitol in Austin features extensive landscaping with over 17 acres of lawns, trees, and gardens. The lush greenery is carefully maintained and includes various species of oak, pecan, and magnolia trees. The grounds are also home to several historic monuments and statues, such as the Confederate Soldiers Monument and the Texas African American History Memorial.
Visitors can stroll through the landscaped walkways and enjoy the scenic views of the Capitol building and surrounding areas. The landscape design also incorporates sustainable practices, such as the use of native plants and rainwater harvesting. Overall, the landscaping of the Texas Capitol in Austin enhances the beauty and historical significance of the building while providing a peaceful and enjoyable outdoor experience for visitors.
Touring The Capitol Grounds
The Capitol was built in the Renaissance Revival architectural style and is considered one of the most beautiful legislative buildings in the U.S. Atop the Capitol building, the original statue of the Goddess of Liberty was made of zinc. It was later replaced by an aluminum statue. The original Capitol was constructed in a square tower, but the architect agreed to switch to a cast-iron dome.
The state Capitol is free to visit. You can take a guided tour, or grab a self-guided tour pamphlet in multiple languages. There are also specialty tours available on Women in Texas History.
The capitol building is surrounded by beautiful 22-acre landscaped grounds. It includes twenty monuments and is the setting for various civic activities. During the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of new trees were planted on the Capitol’s grounds. The grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Texas Capitol in Austin is not only a seat of power but a reflection of the cultural heritage of its citizen. Its architecture and design present the dawn of enlightenment and innovations. Its landscape exudes liberty and a strong sense of self, backed by its rich history and a collection of monuments that attest to its endurance over time. Indeed, the Texas Capitol is a tourist destination in itself, and visitors will not be disappointed.