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Open House at the Capitol


On April 21, 1888, the Capitol of Texas was opened to the public before it was

finished. It was appropriate to have the open house on San Jacinto Day, the

45 th  Anniversary of Texas Independence from Mexico. Plans were in progress for

the present Capitol building long before the limestone Capitol burned to the

ground on November 9, 1881.

For seven years Texas operated without a center of government. A six-ton cornerstone was set on Texas Independence Day on March 2, 1885. A railroad was laid from Granite Mountain in Burnet County to transport 188,518 cubic feet of Texas Sunset Red Granite to the building site. Ten derricks were erected to place the massive pieces of granite in front of the Austin limestone. The

architectural marvel consisted of 392 rooms, 924 windows and 404 doors.

Detroit architect Elijah E. Meyers design was chosen out of eleven submitted.

Eighty pieces of the “Goddess of Liberty” were raised piece by piece to the top of

the capitol dome and secured with large bolts. A week-long festival of events in

May of 1888 drew 20,000 people. The official dedication took place on May 18 th .

Proud Texans from across the Lone Star State came to see their majestic Capitol

and walk its granite floors.

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