Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

Infobox_nrhp | name = Texas State Capitol

caption = 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, USA
nearest_city =
lat_degrees = 30
lat_minutes = 16
lat_seconds = 29
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 97
long_minutes = 44
long_seconds = 26
long_direction = W
built = 1885
architect=Elijah E. Myers
designated=June 23, 1986
added = June 22, 1970
governing_body = Texas State Preservation Board
The Texas State Capitol, located in Austin, Texas, is the fourth building to serve as the seat of Texas government. It houses the chambers of the Texas State Legislature and the office of the Governor of Texas. Originally designed by Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed from 1882–88 under the direction of civil engineer Lindsay Walker, and 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. It is the tallest capitol building in the U.S., though it has less square footage than the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. [ [http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Capitol/TexCap.htm Texas Capitol] even though it is about 15 feet taller. State Preservation Board, Caretakers of the Texas Capitol. Last accessed January 10, 2008.]


Construction of the Renaissance Revival style capitol building was funded through an article in the state constitution, adopted February 15, 1876, which authorized the sale of public lands for the purpose. The builders of the capitol were paid with three million acres (12,000 km²) of land in the Texas panhandle; this tract later became the XIT Ranch. The value of the land, combined with out-of-pocket expenses, added to a total cost of $3.7 million for the original building. It was largely constructed by convicts or migrant workers, up to 1,000 at a time. The building has been renovated many times, with central air conditioning installed in 1955 and the most recent refurbishments completed in 1997.

The cornerstone for the building was laid on March 2 1885, Texas Independence Day, and the completed building was opened to the public on April 21, 1888, San Jacinto Day. The original plan for the capitol called for it to be constructed from limestone quarried within the state; however there was some concern that the available limestone would be of variable quality. Hearing of the problem, the owners of Granite Mountain near Marble Falls offered to donate to the state free of charge the necessary amount of pink granite as an alternative. This stone was subsequently used on the majority of state government buildings in the downtown Austin area, and was called "Texas Pink Granite" until very recently, when those marketing the stone changed the name to "sunset red."

Within the rotunda hang the portraits of every past Texas Governor, and the lobby features sculptures by Elisabet Ney of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. The rotunda also acts as a whispering gallery. The capitol has more floor space than any other state capitol building, and is almost 15 feet (5 m) higher than the National Capitol.

The Texas State Capitol was ranked 92 in the "America's Favorite Architecture" poll commissioned by the American Institute of Architects, that ranked the top 150 favorite architectural projects in America as of 2007.

Controversy over religious display

A granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was at the center 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.



External links

* [http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/tspb.htm Texas State Preservation Board - Maintainers of the Capitol]
* [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.tx0398 Library of Congress: architectural drawings and photographs of the Texas State capitol]
* [http://www.texasbob.com/texdoc13.html Capitol Dedication Ceremony - Excerpts from Senator Temple Houston’s acceptance (of the capitol building) speech May 16, 1888] "TexasBob.com"
* [http://www.favoritearchitecture.org/ Americas's Favorite Architecture]
*Handbook of Texas|id=CC/ccc1|name=Capitol
* [http://www.TexasCapitolVisitorsCenter.com www.TexasCapitolVisitorsCenter.com]

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