Looking for a parking garage near the Texas State Capitol, yours truly instructed his wife, who was driving, our Jeep, to take a right only to find we were headed down a one-way street in the wrong direction.A quick U-turnand 15 minutes later we finally located the garage.
Our first stop was the Capitol Visitor’s Center, the former Texas Land Grand Office.
Complete in 1857 as a fireproof repository of the extensive public lands, which included Spanish and Mexican land grants, survey, field notes and maps of the Republic to Texas … and enormous task as both and a Republic and State millions of acres had been granted, sold or leased.
However, our main objective was Austin’s magnificent State Capitol Building.
With more than 360,000 square feet of interior floor space it is the largest state capitol and towering 310 feet it is some seven feet taller than the US Capitol and the sixth tallest state capitol.Standing atop the dome is the 14.6 foot high statue of the Goddess of Liberty holding an eight foot Texas star.
The exterior walls are made of Sunset Red Texas Granite while the foundation and interior walls are Texas limestone.The wainscoting and other woodwork are primarily oak and pine; although some cherry, walnut, mahogany and cedar were also used.The dome is galvanized cast and wrought iron and the roof covering 85,000 sq. ft. of copper.
Beginning with the interior of the dome over the rotunda, throughout the building the five-pointed Texas star is repetitively used, often with the letters :”T”, “E”, “X”,”A” “S” inserted between the points of the star.
Entering the foyer from the south entrance
you pass a large painting of David (Davy) Crockett
and then between marble statues of Sam Houston (left)
and Stephen F. Austin (right)
as you enter the rotunda.
The rotunda floor contains the seal of the state of Texas surrounded by the six flags which have flown over the state (reading clockwise from the top right, Spain, France, the United States, Confederate States of America and the Republic of Texas)
Carved door frames
have bronze hinges inscribed with the words, “Texas Capitol”
and the hinges and other hardware are incised with geometric and stylized floral motifs.
The door knobs and door hinges throughout the building.Each door knob prominently displays the Texas star.
The stairways each possessed their own hand-crafted elegance.
Then there the main legislative and judicial chambers.
Original Desks still in use
Note the star and word spelled out by the light bulbs
A formal portrait of Stephen F. Austin, done shortly before his death, hangs behind the Senate President’s chair
Battle flag from the Battle of San Jacinto, where an army under the command of Sam Houston defeated a much larger force under Mexican General and President Santa Ana (who had been victorious at the Alamo just six weeks earlier) … winning Texas independence from Mexico and setting the border at the Rio Grand River
Last painting of Sam Houston hangs in the House Chamber
GOVERNOR’S PUBLIC RECEPTION ROOM
ORIGINAL SUPREME COURT CHAMBER
ORIGINAL COURT OF APPEALS CHAMBER
ORIGINAL STATE TREASURER”S OFFICE
Presently used as the Capitol Tour Office
The Capitol grounds host the greatest number of monuments of any of the state capital we’ve visited to date.
The Tejanos Monument, reflecting the contributions of the Tejanos (early Mexican settlers of Texas) to the history of the state
Hood’s Confederate Brigade Monument
Heroes of the Alamo Monument (the oldest monument)
Confederate War Dead Memorial
Volunteer Firemen Monument
Terry’s Texas Rangers Monument
Spanish American War Veterans Memorial
Texas National Guard Monument
Tribute to Texas Children
Tribute to Texas Pioneer Women
Replica of the Statue of Liberty
Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial (with the names of Texans who lost their lives in the conflict etched on the monument)
World War I Veterans Memorial
World War II Veterans Memorial
Disabled Veterans Memorial
Texas Peace Officers Memorial
Our next stop was the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum located on the University of Texas campus.The ten –story building is home to 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photographs, 1 million feet of motion picture film and 15,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Johnson and his close associates, including over 600 hours of presidential telephone conversations (including a call to Rose Kennedyjust hours after JFK’s assignation).
Four floors of archived documents
Post Presidential Limousine
Pictures of each of the Presidents and First Ladies (which have included wives, sisters, mothers, hostesses) from Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe to
Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama
The museum features a selection of permanent historical and cultural exhibits which examine his boyhood years through the turbulent 1960s, including his untimely ascendency to the presidency on November 22, 1963,
and major policy decisions which have shaped his presidential legacy (e.g., the Voting Rights act of 1965, Head Start, War on Poverty and Vietnam).
Campaign poster in LBJ’s run for the US Senate, also featuring his Silver Star – I did not realize that after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Johnson was the first member of Congress to volunteer for active duty (on December 8th, 1941)
A 7/8 reproduction of the Oval Office of President Johnson
War on Poverty
Medicare, Voting Rights Act, Head Start and others initiatives
A smaller section was dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson during her White House years.
There was also an interesting etched bronze plaque which depicts LBJ with his four predecessors (FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and JFK).
As with other presidential libraries we’ve visited, there are also changing exhibits.On display is a tribute to
In the form of a series of large photographs (some which we’ve seen before and some which very graphic) from the Civil War,