There were a number of units from Texas that fought in the Civil War. Two of the most famous were The Texas Brigade (also known as "Hood's Brigade" or "General Hood's Texas Cavalry Boys") and the 8th Texas Cavalry (also known as "Terry's Texas Rangers). The Texas Brigade fought in every battle in Northern Virginia except Chancellorsville and of over 5000 soldiers in the brigade only about 600 made it to the end of the war. They had a reputation for being tough and not backing down. They were frequently given the tougher mission in battle. Terry's Texas Rangers fought in over 275 battles and were known as one of the most effective mounted units on either side during the war. There are monuments to both units on the Capitol Square.
There are several other monuments and memorials located on Capitol Square. Some of them include a nice monument dedicated to Tejanos (Texans of Mexican Descent) and their contributions to the culture and history of Texas, a memorial to firefighters who have died in the line of duty, a memorial to law enforcement personnel who have died in the line of duty, a monument to Women Pioneers dedicated to the women past, present and future who contribute so much to the state of Texas, and a monument to children who represent the future.
This impressive sight was sculpted to remember the brave men who died at the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. The Alamo was places under siege by General Santa Ana of Mexico and approximately 1500 soldiers on 23 February 1836. There were about 100 Texians garrisoned in the fort slowly supplemented by some reinforcements. The siege lasted from the 23rd to 6 March 1836 when the Alamo fell. All defenders of the fort, estimated to be between 180 and 257 men, were killed, along with about 600 Mexican soldiers. This incident caused a lot of anger amongst the Texians and their ranks swelled with new recruits. The battle cry "Remember the Alamo" became common. This memorial honors the defenders of the Alamo.
The Texas State Capitol Building is located in an area set aside in 1839 for the Capitol Square, that consists of 64 acres of well landscaped lawn, trees, and bushes punctuated with statues from the history of the state. The first capitol building was completed here in 1853. The cornerstone for the current building was laid on 2 March 1885, Texas Independence Day. The building was designed by Detroit architect Elijah E. Myers. Work was finally completed in February 1888. The Texas pink granite building is 566 feet tall. It is located on a hill and has a nice view of downtown Austin down Congress Street and the University of Texas to the north. The Texas State Capitol Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. FREE guided tours are offered 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM on Saturday, and 12 PM to 3:30 PM on Sunday.
There are several memorials on the Capitol Square dedicated to veterans. A few of them I will give their own tip; but here are some of them. I always feel it is important to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans and their contribution to our freedom and our way of life. I was touched by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that honored the 3417 Texans who died during that war.
There are several rooms inside the Texas State Capitol Visitors Center that house displays about various aspects of the culture and history of Austin and the state of Texas. They are definitely worth checking out while on the capitol grounds. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Admission is FREE.
The Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history."
Sited on one of Austin's highest points, 22 acres, it anchors the downtown commercial district and commands a sweeping view towards the Colorado River. The main campus of The University of Texas at Austin is 4 blocks north. Wonderful views of the Capitol's dome from many vantage points throughout the Austin area are protected from obscuration by state law.
Completed in 1888 as the winning design from a national competition, the Capitol's style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy and characterized by classical orders, round arches and symmetrical composition. The structural exterior walls are "sunset red" granite, quarried just 50 miles from the site. Additional structural support is provided by interior masonry walls and cast iron columns and wrought iron beams. The foundation is limestone.
The Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. Like several other state capitols, the 1888 Texas Capitol surpasses the National Capitol in height, rising almost 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.
In 1993, the $75 million underground Capitol Extension was completed to the north, doubling the square footage available to Capitol occupants and providing much improved functionality. In 1995, a comprehensive interior and exterior restoration of the original building was completed at a cost of approximately $98 million. Finally, in 1997, the park-like grounds surrounding the Capitol were given a much needed $8 million renovation and restoration.
We went into the Capital Grille, gift shop and on a free tour of the building. There were 20 monuments on the grounds & many school groups discussing the history of Texas; I even learned about the 6 flags of Texas!
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history," the Texas Capitol is an impressive example of late 19th century public architecture. The largest in gross square footage of all state capitols, it is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. Like several other state capitols, the Texas Capitol surpasses the National Capitol in height, rising almost 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.
I went with a tourist guide group to visit the Capitol and it was worth it. There are too many things to know about it and too many things happened here. I did not know that were the Spanish who took the caws and horses to Texas ...
My first idea, when visiting the Capitol, was to visit the Visitors Center first as it was closest to the parking lot, but on Sundays it doesn't open until later. So, I discovered the Capitol Building first. Honestly, it doesn't really matter...
The Capitol Visitors Center is more of a Texas History museum than anything else. They have different movies of Texas when it was becoming a (country first!) state. They have small rooms and areas but I didn't explore all of them because I'm pretty claustrophobic.
They have lots of fun things for kids, though. Plenty of games and historical problem solving games. Check out the pictures and travelogue for details.
The building is in the restored 1856-57 General Land Office building. The three-story castle-like structure reflects the mid-19th century mock-medieval revival architectural style and is the oldest state office building in Texas.
They also have a really cool traveler center where you can pick up hundreds of Texas travel brochures.
Admission is free, and self-guided tour information and pamphlets are also available. Self-guided tour literature and pamphlets are also available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Korean and Spanish.
Capitol Visitors Center :
Monday - Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm
Capitol Visitors Center Giftshop:
Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am- 5:00 pm
Sunday Noon - 5:00 pm
I didn't know if I wanted to visit the capitol on a Sunday afternoon but I found to like it very much. On a Sunday there weren't huge groups of people and many of the rooms were open to view. That's not bad for a National Historical Landmark.
There is parking available for visitors. On Sunday there was plenty of parking and it was FREE (yeehaw). I just followed the signs as I arrived in the area. The signs show you where to park. You can also meter park on the street leading up to the Capitol Building.
When I arrived I toured the outside statues first. There are many plaques commemorating soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War for the Confederacy. There is also a Volunteer Firefighters memorial.
After getting some lovely pictures of the building I went inside the (huge) doors. Instantly I went through metal detectors (which always make me feel important). Then you walk into a grand hallway. As I was arriving a tour was starting. I listened to some great pieces of information, and having taught all the concepts in my classroom, I went about touring on my own. In the old Treasury Dept room you can find the self-guided tour guides. But you really don't need it. You'll find the Senate and House of Representatives rooms pretty easily.
When you're in the middle of the general area make sure to look up at the beautifully designed dome. It really is spectacular. And you'll find many people in very funny positions trying to snap some photos. Some even lie on the floor on their backs to get the perfect shot.
The gift shop is a bit confusing, though. You go down the elevators (or stairs) and then down a quiet hallway. Very strange if you ask me...
Great field trip for kids, though, and you can talk a lot about government. Only downside was the Supreme Court was open.
After touring the Capitol make sure to visit the Capitol Visitors Center on the grounds, towards the parking lot.
BEST PART: FREE! I didn't spend a dime...until I got to the gift shop :)
Texas Capitol & Extension
Weekdays 7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Hours are extended during legislative sessions.
The Capitol Information and Guide Services is located in the restored Treasurer's Business Office on the first floor of the Capitol. Free Capitol tours are conducted daily beginning in the Capitol South Foyer and concluding in the Capitol Extension. This tour features the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas legislature.
Tours are generally 45 minutes in length and available during the following times:
Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Sunday, Noon- 3:30 pm
The Visitors Center , the Visitors Center Giftshop and the Capitol will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Easter
Free Capitol tours are conducted daily beginning in the Capitol South Foyer and concluding in the Capitol Extension.
Tours are generally 45 minutes in length
Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Sunday, Noon - 3:30 pm
Have a great trip to Austin...if you need any other tips, just let me know.