Kurt's Historic Sites

Austin, Texas capitol

Texas

Admission to the UnionSequence in AdmissionSequence in Capitols I Have Visited
December 29, 184528th admitted18th visited

Photographed April 18, 2012.

The saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas” is hyperbolic, but one thing in the Lone Star State is the biggest for sure — its capitol. The Texas State Capitol surpasses all other U.S. state houses in total area, and it is even slightly taller than the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The groundbreaking ceremony for this massive project was held in March 1882, and the finishing touches were applied in December 1888.

The capitol and its grounds are situated “on the square originally selected as the site of the Capitol of the Republic of Texas,” per the website of the Texas House of Representatives. This photograph showcases the capitol’s flower garden dedicated to beautification advocate Lady Bird Johnson, who was first lady of the U.S. from 1963 to 1969.

Photographed April 18, 2012.
Photographed April 18, 2012.

Even by lying down on the floor, I was not able to zoom out wide enough with our digital camera to capture the entirety of the dome’s interior. The building was designed by Elijah E. Myers, who also designed the state houses in Michigan and Colorado.

Texas became a U.S. state in 1845 but seceded shortly thereafter in 1861, charging northern states of attempting to acquire “sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slave-holding States.” Even though the rebellious states of the Confederacy were defeated in the ensuing Civil War and chattel slavery was abolished, the sentiments of secession were not squashed for many white southerners. During the Jim Crow era of segregation and oppression, large quantities of CSA monuments were erected across the U.S. That included this monument on the Texas Capitol grounds, placed in 1903. Confederate President Jefferson Davis stands at its pinnacle, surrounded by figures representative of the CSA’s infantry, cavalry, artillery, and navy. The text on its base peddles the false and revisionist Lost Cause narrative that is complementary to the Confederacy. It declares the Confederate dead “died for states rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The people of the South, animated by the Spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the Federal Compact in 1861. The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted.” There have been calls to have this dangerously-inaccurate monument removed from the capitol grounds, to no avail as of yet.

Photographed April 18, 2012.

Sources Consulted

DECLARATION OF CAUSES: February 2, 1861. A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union. From Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Accessed February 10, 2022. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ref/abouttx/secession/2feb1861.html.

Texas House of Representatives. “Capitol History.” Accessed February 10, 2022. https://house.texas.gov/about-us/capitol-history/.

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