The State Capital of Texas, in Austin, is beautiful. It’s filled with lots of history and a rich sense of… redecorating. Although it’s been redone several times, monuments moved, disappeared, and changed, the history remains solid. The grounds are surrounded by an iron picket fence, each topped with a gold star. It is a replica of the original fence that originally surrounded the capital building since 1853. In the beginning, the officials of the soon-to-be-independent state held a nationwide competition for the design of the new capital. The winners would be paid with 3 million acres of land in west Texas. They declared a Detroit architect the winner, and laid the 12,000 pound cornerstone on March 2, 1885, the Independence Day for Texas.
It was a beautiful day in Austin, the day we went to visit. The grounds were sparkling, people were relaxing on the many lawns, listening to the outdoor concert a few blocks down. We appreciated the many statues, like the gazebo commemorating those Heroes Who Fought at the Alamo, The soldier of the Spanish-American War, and Terry’s Texas Rangers; some of the oldest monuments on the grounds. Russel’s favorite part of the scenery were, of course, the cannons which date all the way back from 1865.
Inside though, was calm and cool. The Rotunda and Dome, like many state capitals, is the highlight of the tour. It is an open rotunda, meaning that on all of the four levels, it’s possible to see all the way to the bottom and all the way to the top. What was the most interesting, is that there is a portrait of every governor/president that the Republic of Texas has ever had. And each new term when a new governor is elected, each portrait, as you can see lining the walls, is shifted a section to the left, to make room for the new governor after their term is finished. All of the leaders in the state government of Texas spiral up the rotunda, making their way to the Goddes of Liberty, who is stationed at the top of the dome with a star of Texas in her hand.
I have to admit, although I’m not a huge history buff, I can definitely appreciate the time, effort and sacrifice that went into making the society that we have today. It’s amazing to me to walk in the same steps that men and women, for hundreds of years, have walked. I mean think about it; what would it have been like to be trying to establish your independence as a state and a territory over 100 years ago? To have been a philosopher at the Acropolis, and actually spent time pondering the meaning of the world with the buildings in their full capacity and beauty. It’s amazing to me that we as a society have come so far, and continued on so easily. Times have changed drastically, even over the last 50 years. To have truly lived during a time when the meaning of freedom was the meaning of living; and it’s something that we take so for granted now. It makes you appreciate, just how lucky we have it.