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An Empire Is Born

On a cold November day in 1838, Mirabeau Lamar discovered the location he desired to establish his empire. The President-elect of Texas was on a buffalo hunt with friends; thirty miles upstream from Bastrop. The soon to be President of Texas was on horseback about a mile north of the Colorado River. From this vantage point on a high elevation looking south toward the river. Lamar could see hundreds of Buffalo grazing near the river. An unnamed creek to his left, Shoal Creek on his right running south to the Colorado. It was roughly a one mile square, section of land with water on three sides. Perfect for the first permanent Capitol of Texas. Far enough inland from the Gulf of Mexico and the border to make Mexican invasions difficult.

Lamar was sworn in as President on December 10, 1838. His priority was to establish a new center of government for Texas. He had already chosen the place but appointed a committee of five friends. The committee wrote up the requirements that perfectly described the property he found the previous month. The citizens of Bastrop, Washington-on-the-Brazos and Montopolis all lobbied for the Capitol to be in their town. On October 17, 1839, President Lamar and his cabinet members arrived with the archives of the Republic of Texas. The town of Austin was incorporated in December of 1839.

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