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

About Lyman

Lyman Hardeman has held a deep interest in Texas history. He spent his youth in College Station, Texas and received a degree in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M in 1966. In 1995, Lyman created Lone Star Junction, a popular Texas history website that later merged with TexasProud.com. Lyman is a life member of the Texas State Historical Association and the author of Texas A&M The First 25 Years.