December 16, 2013 – Texas State Capitol – LBJ Presidential Library & Museum

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-turn  and 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.

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.

State House (b), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16State House (a), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16

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.

State House (Goddess of LIberty Statue atop the Dome - b), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16The 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.

State House (Interior of Dome - a), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16State House (Interior of Dome from the Fourth Floor), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16State House (Interior of Dome - c), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16Entering the foyer from the south entrance

State House (View Toward Rotunda from South Foyer Entrance), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16you pass a large painting of David (Davy) Crockett

State House (David Crockett Painting in South Foyer), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16and then between marble statues of Sam Houston (left)

State House (Sam Houston Statue in South Foyer), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16and Stephen F. Austin (right)

State House (Stephen F. Austin Statue in South Foyer), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16as you enter the rotunda.

State House (Rotunda Balconies from the First Floor), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16The 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)

State House (Seals on the Rotunda Floor from the Fourth Floor Balcony - b), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16

Carved door frames

State House (Craftsmanship over Doorways), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16have bronze hinges inscribed with the words, “Texas Capitol”

State House (Door Hinges), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16and 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.

State House (Door Knobs), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16

The stairways each possessed their own hand-crafted elegance.

State House (Staircase from First to Second Floor), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16Then there the main legislative and judicial chambers.

SENATE CHAMBER

State House (Senate Chamber - b), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16

Original Desks still in use

Original Desks still in use

Note the star and word spelled out by the light bulbs

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

A formal portrait of Stephen F. Austin, done shortly before his death, hangs behind the Senate President’s chair

 HOUSE CHAMBER

State House (House Chamber - c), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16

Ceiling Light

Ceiling Light

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

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

Last painting of Sam Houston hangs in the House Chamber

 GOVERNOR’S PUBLIC RECEPTION ROOM

State House (Governor's Public Reception Room), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16ORIGINAL SUPREME COURT CHAMBER

State House (Supreme Court Chamber), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16ORIGINAL COURT OF APPEALS CHAMBER

State House (Court of Appeals Chamber), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16LEGISLATIVE LIBRARY

State House (Legislative Reference Library), Austin, TX - 2103-12-16ORIGINAL STATE TREASURER”S OFFICE

Presently used as the Capitol Tour 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

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

Hood’s Confederate Brigade Monument

Heroes of the Alamo Monument (the oldest monument)

Heroes of the Alamo Monument (the oldest monument)

Confederate War Dead Memorial

Confederate War Dead Memorial

Volunteer Firemen Monument

Volunteer Firemen Monument

Terry’s Texas Rangers Monument

Terry’s Texas Rangers Monument

Texas Cowboy

Texas Cowboy

Spanish American War Veterans Memorial

Spanish American War Veterans Memorial

Texas National Guard Monument

Texas National Guard Monument

Ten Commandments

Ten Commandments

Tribute to Texas Children

Tribute to Texas Children

Tribute to Texas Pioneer Women

Tribute to Texas Pioneer Women

Replica of the Statue of Liberty

Replica of the Statue of Liberty

Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial

Pearl Harbor Survivors Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial (with the names of Texans who lost their lives in the conflict etched on the monument)

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 I Veterans Memorial

World War II Veterans Memorial

World War II Veterans Memorial

Disabled Veterans Memorial

Disabled Veterans Memorial

Texas Peace Officers 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 Kennedy  just hours after JFK’s assignation).

Four floors of archived documents

Four floors of archived documents

Post Presidential Limousine

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

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

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,

 LBJ-swearing-in

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)

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

A 7/8 reproduction of the Oval Office of President Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - b), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16

Vietnam Era

Vietnam Era

War on Poverty

War on Poverty

Medicare, Voting Rights Act, Head Start and others

Medicare, Voting Rights Act, Head Start and others initiatives

 A smaller section was dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson during her White House years.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (Exhibits 7), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (Lady Bird's White House Office), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16

 There was also an interesting etched bronze plaque which depicts LBJ with his four predecessors (FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and JFK). Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (Brass Etching - LBJ and Presidents FDR to JFK), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16

As with other presidential libraries we’ve visited, there are also changing exhibits.  On display is a tribute to

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16In the form of a series of large photographs (some which we’ve seen before and some which very graphic) from the Civil War,

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - Civil War - a), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - Civil War - b), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - Civil War - c), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - Civil War - d), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16The Spanish American War, World War I,

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - WWI - a), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - WWI - b), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - WWI - c), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16

World War II,

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - WWII - a), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - WWII - c), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16Korea,

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum (American Soldiar Tribute - Korea), Austin, TX - 2013-12-16

the Iraqi War and  the War in Afghanistan.

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