- General Land Office Building (Austin, Texas)
General Land Office BuildingThe Old Land Office Building
Location: 108 East 11th Street
Coordinates: Coordinates: Built: 1857 Architect: William Baker & Q. Nichols Architectural style: Romanesque Governing body: Texas State Preservation Board NRHP Reference#: 70000769 Added to NRHP: August 25, 1970
The General Land Office Building in Austin, Texas is the oldest surviving state government office building in the city, and the first building designed by a university-trained architect (German architect Christoph Conrad Stremme). The building features a dramatic medieval castle style known as Rundbogenstil, or "rounded arch" around the windows and doors. There is also a Norman style influence in the castle-like parapets. The exterior walls are limestone rubble smoothed over with stucco and scored to simulate cut stone blocks.
The Land Office was completed in 1857 on the southeast corner of the Texas State Capitol grounds. The building counted among its employees William Sidney Porter, later to become famous as short-story writer O. Henry. Porter worked in the office from 1887 to 1891 and later set several of his stories there.
The building functioned as the state's land office building until 1917 when the agency moved to a larger building across the street. From 1919 until 1989, the building housed museums run by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The building was modified during the mid-20th century but was restored between 1989 and 1992 to its original style. Today, it serves as the Capitol Visitor's Center. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1970.
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