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Texas State Capital – Austin, Texas

Texas State Capital

It was back in 1839 when five mounted scouts rode across the Republic of Texas, looking for the perfect spot for a new capital city.  On the north bank of the Colorado River, in a central location, was a little settlement of four families called Waterloo. In September of 1839, fifty ox-drawn wagons hauled all the official furniture and records up from Houston and established the new capital called Austin among those original families in Waterloo.  Stephen F. Austin is known as the Father Of Texas because he took on the colonization efforts initiated by his father, and brought hundreds of families into Texas in the 1820s -1830s before he died, so it was a fitting honor to name the new capital in his honor.

The Texas State Capitol complex sprawls over 46 acres of landscaped grounds, and the centerpiece is the statehouse itself, constructed of native Texas Sunset Red granite. When the original capitol building that was built in 1853 burned to the ground in 1881, the existing granite building began construction in 1882 and completed in 1887. But when the zinc Goddess of Liberty statue was finally installed on top the capitol dome in 1888, the time had come to officially dedicate the new capitol building.

Visitors to the Texas Capitol are welcome on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Hours are subject to change. Please call 512.463.0063 for extended hours during legislative sessions which occur for 140 days every odd numbered year beginning the second Tuesday in January.

The Capitol Information and Guide Service is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The helpful guides furnish information and conduct free 30-45 minute tours of the building.  Capitol tours are conducted every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter. Tours are given during the following hours:

Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 3:30 p.m.

A thorough visitors guide can be found online here  http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/images/capitolwalkingtour_text.pdf

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Texas Facts

For What is Texas is Famous?

The Alamo in San Antonio Texas
The Alamo

We have good number of our visitors asking “what is texas famous for?” or “what makes texas famous?” So we’ve compiled the top 10 reasons why Texas is famous.

The Alamo – Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and 180+ Texians including battled for 3 days against 6000+ members of the Mexican army. Granted, they lost and all the Alamo defenders were killed but it inspired the rest of Texas to fight Mexico for independence. The phrase “Remember the Alamo” was the rallying cry that the Texians, led by Sam Houston, used to defeat General Santa Anna and the Mexicans.

BBQ – Texans love their BBQ. So much so that four styles of Texas BBQ have become popular around the different geographic region. In East Texas, the beef is cooked slowly over hickory and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce until the mean is basically falling off the bone. Central Texans prefer that the meat be rubbed with spices and cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood. Out in West Texas the meat is cooked over direct heat from mesquite wood giving it a somewhat bitter taste. The South Texas style features thick, molasses-like sauces that keep the meat very moist.

Football – This quote from Legendary Cowboy’s Coach Tom Landry say is it all,  “Football is to Texas what religion is to a priest.”  It isn’t uncommon in Texas to spend $20m on a high school football stadium and pack it with 40,000+ fans for a Texas high school playoff game.

Black Gold, Texas Tea – It all began on Jan. 10, 1901 when the Lucas No. 1 well blew at Spindletop near Beaumont spewing mud, gas and oil more than 100 feet into the air. With that dramatic fanfare, Texas’ economy was wrenched from its rural, agricultural roots and flung headlong into the petroleum and industrial age.  Oil profoundly changed the culture of the state, and it continues to affect most Texans’ lives in ways that may not be obvious to the casual observer.

Texas Longhorn –  Commonly seen while driving along Texas back country, the Texas Longhorn known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 7 feet.  The Longhorn also serves as the official Texas State Large Mammal, official symbol for Fort Worth as well as the mascot for the University of Texas at Austin.

Size – As the 2nd, largest state in both size and population, the state of Texas encompasses 268,820 square miles.  The size of the state and the bigger-than-life attitude of some of its inhabitants has led to the saying that “Everything is bigger in Texas.”  Another common term, “Texas-Sized” is used to describe something that is large compared to other objects of its type.

JFK Assassination – On Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m CST,  John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.   Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas governor John Connally, and the latter’s wife Nellie, in a Presidential motorcade.   For more information, visit the 6th floor museum in Dallas.

Chili – Texans love their chili almost as much as BBQ.  Some people believe that it all started back the 1840’s as Texas cowboys pounded beef fat and dried beef with chili peppers and salt to make trail food then later boil it to make a dish they called chili.  Some say cowboys planted oregano, chiles, and onions along their well travelled trails then harvest the spices, onions, and chiles on their way back and combine them with beef to create a chili recipe called “Trail Drive Chili”.

Don’t Mess with Texas – The slogan began as a statewide advertising campaign in 1986 to reduce littering on Texas roadways and quickly became a Texas cultural phenomenon. While officially a trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation, “Don’t Mess with Texas” is frequently cited example of pride in Texas culture.

The Heat – Texas actually has a very diverse climate but generally the eastern half of Texas is humid subtropical and the western half is semi-arid. However it is all hot and humid with average temps in the high 90’s for June, July and August.

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Texas Facts

Texas State Quarter

Texas State Quarter
Texas State Quarter

The Texas Quarter was the 28th coin to be issued in the 50 State Quarter Series from the United States Mint. The design of the quarter is meant to honor the qualities that make Texas great.

The top of the Texas Quarter says “Texas” with the year 1845 underneath – because on December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state to be admitted into the Union. In the center of the coin is the shape of Texas with a lone star. Texas has long been known as “the Lone Star State” as symbolized on our state flag. The lariat rope that surrounds the design honors the western history of the Texas cowboy and the cattle for which our state is famous. The overall design of the Texas Quarter represents the individuality of Texans and their “frontier spirit that tamed the land.”

The final design of the coin was revealed at the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank on July 12, 2002. The drawing of artist Daniel Miller of Arlington was chosen from over 2,700 entries.

At the unveiling ceremony for the Texas Quarter, Governor Rick Perry said, “This Texas quarter will serve as a timeless representation of our state’s proud and storied history. When Americans reach into their pockets and purses beginning in 2004, this quarter will remind all of the proud and rich history of the state that was once its own sovereign nation.”

The 50 States Quarter program will release a new quarter every 10 weeks in the order that each state was admitted into the Union. It will take 10 years for the series to be completed, ending in the year 2008. (5 each year) The design of each quarter is selected by the Governor of each state.

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Texas Facts

State Song of Texas – Texas, Our Texas

The State Song of Texas was chosen May 23, 1929. “Texas, our Texas” was written by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright. Our state anthem was one of many that had been entered into a competition and it took 4 years for the State legislature to make the decision!

“Texas, our Texas” has been performed at State Functions, Football Games and sung by many school children. The only change that has been made to the original lyrics of the song since it was written in 1924 was to one word. When Alaska got it’s statehood in 1959, it became the largest state. So, the word in the Texas State song – largest – was changed to boldest.

 

Texas, Our Texas

Texas, our Texas! All hail the mighty state!
Texas, our Texas! So wonderful, so great!
Boldest and grandest, withstanding every test;
O empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.

God bless you, Texas! And keep you brave and strong.
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.

Texas, O Texas! Your freeborn single star.
Sends out its radiance to nations near and far.
Emblem of freedom! It sets our hearts aglow.
With thoughts of San Jacinto and glorious Alamo.

God bless you, Texas! And keep you brave and strong.
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.

Texas, dear Texas! From tyrant grip now free,
Shines forth in splendor your star of destiny!
Mother of heroes! We come your children true.
Proclaiming our allegiance, our faith, our love for you.

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Texas Facts

Texas State Symbols

Texas traditionally has recognized natural resources and wildlife commonly found within the state as tangible representations of both the state’s proud spirit and its vast and diverse natural heritage by proclaiming them official Texas State symbols.

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Texas Facts

Interesting Texas Facts

The name Texas comes from the word “tejas” meaning “friend” in the language of the Hasinai Indians of the Caddo Nation.   The nickname for Texas is “The Lone Star State”

Texas declared independence from Mexico on On March 2, 1836. After the battle of San Jacinto, Texas became a free republic on April 21, 1836. The Republic of Texas was admitted to the US on Dec. 29, 1845 as the 28th State.  There were six nations that had sovereignty over portions of the territory of the U.S. state of Texas.

At over 1,000 acres, the Texas Medical Center of Houstan is worlds largest medical complex.

The Capitol of Texas is Austin.

Texas is the 2nd largest state with 268,601 square miles bordered by the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma.  Mexico borders the south across the Rio Grande river.

The geographic center of Texas is 15 miles northeast of the town of Brady in McCulloch County.

Texas has 254 Counties. Texas has more counties than any other state.

According to the 2010 U.S. census,  population of Texas is 25,373,947 with three of the 10 largest U.S. cities: Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

The Port of Houston is the largest port in Texas, the 3rd largest in the US and the 8th largest port in the world.  The ships that dock in The Houston Ship Channel carry more cargo than any other port in the United States.

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the 4th busiest in the U.S. and 8th in the world.  At 18,076 acres, it is the 2nd largest in the U.S. and claims to be larger than the island of Manhattan.

The only natural lake in Texas is Lake Caddo, in North East Texas.

There are 190 man made lakes and reservoirs in Texas.

Texas has 80,000 miles of rivers and streams.

The longest river in Texas is the Rio Grande which is 1,254 miles long.

The major rivers in Texas are the Brazos River, Canadian River, Colorado River, Guadalupe, Nueces, Neches, Pecos River, Red River, Rio Grande, Sabine, Trinity River.

The tallest mountain in Texas is Guadalupe Peak which is 8,749 feet above sea level.

Texas has 126 State Parks, 50 wildlife management areas, 8 state fish hatcheries, 13 National Wildlife Refuges, 4 National Forests and 5 National Grasslands.

The top exports in Texas agriculture are cattle, cotton, feed grains, greenhouse plants, poultry and dairy products.  The main food crops grown in Texas in order of volume are corn, sorghum, wheat, onions, peanuts, rice, watermelons, pecans, cantaloups, potatoes, cabbage, sugar cane, soybeans, cucumbers, honeydews, and grapefruit.

The top Texas Industries are chemical industry, petroleum and natural gas, electronic components, telecommunications, biotechnology, machinery, mining, tourism.