I arrived in Austin around 10 A.M. on Monday. Most every place was packed with students on end-of-year field trips, but that was true in Palo Duro as well. Kids have been part of my landscape for so long, that I miss them when they aren’t there. So this week would prove to be very refreshing. I spent about ninety minutes, in and around the Texas State Capitol, once having parked in the visitors’ garage.
This capitol building is suitably huge and majestic, befitting a state that, under the terms of its admission to the Union, may legally subdivide into as many as five states. That this diverse land has chosen to remain united as the Lone Star State is a message to the nation as a whole, as well as a reminder to its citizens to not repeat the choice it made in 1861. Until recently, there was a separatist movement in Texas, to bring back the Republic of 1836-45.
There was much that was praiseworthy about the original Tejas Rebellion. It would likely not have happened, had not Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna usurped nearly imperial powers, after his election by the Congress of Mexico, in 1833. The majority of Tejas residents by then were American southerners, who had a sense of their own freedom, while espousing the institution of slavery. The irony was not lost on them, but they were determined to safeguard their freedom, anyway. More on Santa Anna, and the rebels, in Day 4, Part 3.
Here are some photos of this magnificent building and its surroundings.
Approaching the capitol from the east.
Here is Sam Houston.
A Fountain of Youth, on the South Side of the Capitol.
This is a close-up of the dome, from the south side.
The Tenacity of the Tejano, part of a sculpture honoring the Mexicans who stayed in Texas, after 1836.
The Texas Capitol Visitors’ Center, is southeast of the Capitol.
In 2008, an arsonist set fire to the Texas Governor’s Mansion, which was unoccupied at the time. This piece from the portico of the mansion is on display in the Capitol Visitors’ Center.
Here is an interior view of the Rotunda, taken after I got back from lunch (See Part 2).
Silhouette of Lady Liberty; was taken from north side of the Texas Capitol.
So you can see, the Texas State Capitol could easily take up a good five hours of a person’s time. This vignette, like my other posts, could easily be topped by the connoisseur of Texas history.
I will have three more posts on Austin: Part 2 is on Downtown; part 3 will cover the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and part 4, the University of Texas at Austin. Some may be up tonight, depending on where I stay the night. Otherwise, being Memorial Day weekend, I will post my 20 or so remaining blogs over the course of next week. Stay tuned.