CAPITAL OF THE CAPITOL
The Texas Capitol Visitors Center, located on the grounds of – you guessed it! – the Texas State Capitol, is a natural place to start your visit of the seat of state government. The Visitors Center is housed in the beautifully restored original General Land Office building, built in 1857, making it the oldest surviving government office building in Austin. The design draws from medieval and Norman styles, considered Medieval Revival and popular during the mid-19th century, and utilizes stucco-covered limestone that was incised to resemble blocks of cut stone. Inside, you’ll find a replica model of the nearby Capitol dome complete with cut-away views of the dome construction. Then watch a video called “Building for the Ages” that traces the history of the Capitol and features highlights of the individuals and events that made the construction of the impressive architecture possible. Visit the O. Henry Room where the famous short story writer worked as a draftsman and discover which parts of the General Land Office building the writer used as backdrops to some of his stories. Learn the details of the land-for-financing swap that led to both the Capitol’s construction and the creation of the XIT, one of the largest and most historic ranches in Texas. Then drop by the Capitol Gift Shop and pick up some souvenirs before finally make your way across the grounds to real star of the show – the Texas State Capitol.
Texas Capitol Visitors Center
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Closed major holidays.