Texas Capitol

Located on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, the Texas State Capitol is the largest in the United States. It is modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and was constructed in the  Italian Renaissance Revival style. It is surrounded by twenty monuments and is a popular tourist attraction. 

There is a small gift shop 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. This amazing destination is located at 1100 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701.

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. During 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.

The original Capitol was constructed in 1853. It was destroyed by fire in 1881. In 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. The building was designed by Elijah E. Myers. He was a civil engineer from San Antonio. 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. The interior features marble sculptures and the floor is terrazzo. The exterior features limestone, iron particles, and red granite from Granite Mountain. The foundation is limestone, but the limestone discolored after it was laid.

Landscaping of the grounds was elaborate. There were evergreen trees and shrubbery, “shade trees” on the front, and an iron fence. There were curved carriage drives with limestone curbs, and elm trees on the capitol front grounds.

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 Capitol was built in the Renaissance Revival architectural style and is considered one of the most beautiful legislative buildings in the U.S.

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. The grounds include twenty monuments and are 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.

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