The Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history.
The 1888 Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. Like several other state capitols, the 1888 Texas Capitol surpasses the National Capitol in height, rising almost 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.
One evening, after a wonderful dinner at Driskill Café, I chanced by the huge compound and learned that I would visit it even at that late hour so I zipped through the ground, stopped by some sculptures briefly, then entered the building, which was guarded only by two policemen each at the front and back entrances.
The exterior of the building was classical, elegant and full of details to admire.
When it grew darker, the brightly lit pale structure glowed against the deep blue night sky.
Due to the relative late hour, there were only a handful of visitors and I was able to roam around for most of the time leisurely and had some wonderful sights, such as the dome seen through a translucent ceiling in a long corridor, which led to a delightful little courtyard.
Back to the main part of the building, under the dome, where I saw chambers of Texas State Supreme Court, Appeal Court, Governor's Office, Senate and House Chambers; due to time, security or renovation issues, however, I was only able to tour the quite grandiose House Chamber.
Naturally, one would encounter many important politicians in Texas history or with roots/connections to the state, such as the busts of Lyndon Johnson and George H. W. Bush and the official portrait of former governor Ann Richards:
In the center of the circular space directly below the dome, there was the state seal, above which there were several levels of circular galleries, adorned with official portraits of politicians, including that of Ann Richards, leading all the way up to the soaring yet rather restrained dome.
More on Austin, Texas Trip, June 2014
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