The Texas State Capitol

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The Texas State Capitol

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The Texas State Capitol is the seat of government in the capital city of Austin.
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What everyone knows

Most people who visit the Capitol see the statue of a lady holding a star atop the Capitol’s dome. She is known as the Goddess of Liberty, but looks anything like a goddess! Try looking at her with a pair of binoculars and you might just think it is Abraham Lincoln you are looking at. The statue’s face has very masculine & angular features.

What they don't tell you

While in the central rotunda, be careful what you say!  Even your whispers can be heard throughout the gallery, because the sound waves travel the circumference of the rotunda and cling to the walls as it circulates around the inside of the dome. That’s correct!  This phenomenon is known as a “whispering gallery” and occurs inside circular, hemispherical, elliptical, or ellipsoidal enclosures.

Do it like a local

If you ask me what my favorite spot is inside the Capitol I will tell you it’s the central rotunda, hands down. There you will find portraits of all the past presidents of the Republic of Texas and governors of the state of Texas. Stand directly in the center of the rotunda and look straight up into the dome. You will see a star with the letters T-E-X-A-S - each individual positioned between the points of the five-pointed star. The star seems small from your vantage point, but it is actually bigger than you! 8 feet to be exact.

For the History Buffs

“Everything is bigger in Texas” so the saying goes, and that is exactly what you might think when you visit the Texas State Capitol. Standing proudly in the capital city of Austin, at just over 302 feet, it is the sixth-tallest state capitol is even taller than our nation’s Capitol. This is actually the third Capitol building in the history of the Lone Star State. It stands on the same site of the second Capitol that was destroyed in a fire in 1881. (The first Capitol was in Columbia, Texas). The current Capitol was built by 900 workers consisting largely of convicts and migrants, including 86 granite cutters brought over from Scotland. Their job was to cut the red granite that came from nearby Marble Falls. Interesting enough, the entire project was paid for via the sale of public land in the pan handle of Texas. The builders, John & Charles Farwell, were paid with more than three million acres of land - which eventually became the XIT Ranch, the largest cattle ranch in the world! The cornerstone for the building was laid on March 2, 1885, Texas Independence Day; and was opened to the public on April 21, 1888, San Jacinto Day. The building is surrounded by 22 acres of land that is scattered with statues and monuments, including the controversial granite monument of the Ten Commandments, that was in the news in 2005 when it was challenged in the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional.
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