Otter got to spend some time at the Texas capitol building in Austin. Otter was able to see and learn a lot about Texas history and Texas government.
Austin was chosen as the site for the capitol of Texas by Mirabeau B. Lamar. At the time Houston was the state’s capitol but after visiting the area now known as Austin, Lamar thought this to be a better location for the capitol. The name Austin was given to the town in honor of Stephen F. Austin known as the “father of Texas.” The capitol building itself took six years to build. It was designed by architect Elijah E. Myers. The style of the building is Italian Renaissance Revival from the 15th century. The builders of the capitol were John Farwell and Charles Farwell. They were not paid with money for the project but instead were given three million acres in the Texas Panhandle. The outside of the building is made of red granite that was mined just 50 miles from Austin.
There have been several improvements made on the building over the years. Air conditioning was added in 1955. In 1993 there was a big improvement made when office space was added that doubled the size of the capitol. These offices were actually built underground because they didn’t want to block or take away from the historic beauty of the outside of the original capitol building. The only thing that is visible of the added offices are some sky lights at ground level of the capitol.
The inside of the capitol has many interesting features as well. When Otter visited the capitol, the Senate Chamber was being remodeled so we were only able to see the Representatives Chamber.
The Rotunda was amazing too. In the Rotunda are the portraits of all the previous Texas Governors. The portraits start at the top of the rotunda and wind all the way down to the first floor. Every time a new portrait is added, the rest of the portraits have to be moved over to make room for the new one. That would be quite a job!
While there are many things to view inside, there is one last one Otter would like to mention. That is the Capitol Grill. All that walking around inside and outside of the Capitol can make you hungry. The Capitol Grill is in the underground section that was added in 1993. They have a lot of yummy choices and it was a great way to refuel for more exploring of the Capitol building.
Otter recommends you make a trip to visit the Texas State Capitol.