Located at the crest of a hill at Congress and 11th Streets in Austin, the Texas Capitol houses the state legislature and office of the governor. The current building is the fourth to house Texas’ government, and with over 1 million square feet, is the largest state capitol in the nation.
Designed by architect Elijah E. Myers, who won the commission in a design competition, the Capitol was built between1882 – 1888, and opened to the public on April 21, 1888 (San Jacinto Day.) The contractors who constructed the building were paid not in cash, but with three million acres of land in the Texas Panhandle. This was one of the largest barter deals in history, and the land traded became the famous XIT Ranch.
The iconic pink granite was not part of the original plan, however, the intended Oak Hill limestone had a high iron content which caused it to undesirably discolor when exposed to the elements. Owners of Granite Mountain near Marble Falls, TX donated the “sunset red” granite as an alternative.
Inside the capitol rotunda hangs a portrait of every person who has served as President of the Republic or Governor of Texas.