Senate Kids Webpage Tour of Capitol Building and Grounds This is the Texas State Capitol located in Austin, Texas. It took six years to build this fantastic four-story building which was finally finished in 1888 at a cost of over $3 million. The Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House, Senators and Representatives all have their offices right here. The building is pink in color because of the "Sunset Red" granite used to build it. In 1990, the Capitol went through an extensive restoration and preservation project. Not only does the building now have larger offices, security cameras, and other new additions, but it also has an Extension that is completely underground! Leading up to the Capitol's south doors is the Great Walk. This beautiful walkway is 25 feet wide, 500 feet long, and connects the Capitol to one of Austin's most important streets - Congress Avenue. The Great Walk was completed in 1889 and is lined with breathtaking monuments and statues that remember some of the most important moments and people in Texas history. The Capitol is surrounded by lush grass and tall trees where you're sure to spot a squirrel or have the chance to feed some birds! One of the most notable monuments along the Great Walk commemorates the famous Battle of the Alamo. Erected in 1891, the "Heroes of the Alamo" is one of the four earliest monuments that was placed on Capitol grounds. It is made of pink granite and depicts images of battles scenes cast in bronze. Atop the gazebo-like structure is a bronze statue resembling one of the mission's infantry soldiers. Inscribed in the granite pillars are the names of the brave Texans that fought for Texas' independence against Santa Anna's Mexican army. The bravery and heroism of the Texans that died defending the Alamo encouraged other soldiers to fight victoriously in future battles and Texas finally won its independence. "Remember the Alamo!" At the top of the Capitol Dome is the striking Goddess of Liberty, one of the most famous Texas statues. The original statue was cast in white bronze, weighs almost 3,000 pounds, and was placed atop the Dome in 1888. She holds a sword in her right hand and a gilded star in her left which she holds up to the sky. The Goddess stands 15 feet, 7 1/2 inches tall which is said to make the Texas Capitol taller than the U.S. Capitol. In 1986, a replica of the statue made of aluminum replaced the original. The original statue was restored and placed on display in the Texas Memorial Museum. When you walk through the main entrance on the south side of the Capitol, you will find yourself in the beautiful South Foyer. On the floor of the foyer are designs memorializing the Texas Revolution, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. In this room you will find life-size statues of two men very important to Texas history. The statues were designed by a well-known Texas sculptress by the name of Elisabet Ney. The first statue is Sam Houston, a commander during the Texas revolution who later served as a President of the Texas Republic and Governor of the state. The other statue is of Stephen F. Austin, known as the "Father of Texas" and the man whom Texas' capital city is named after. Austin brought the first 300 families to Texas, was a key negotiator with Mexico during the early years of Texas settlement, and played an important role in setting up a provisional government for the Republic. Rotunda text > Known to be the most impressive and breathtaking area of the Capitol is the Rotunda. This circular room is directly off the South Foyer and provides entrances to every part of the Capitol. On the walls of the Rotunda are portraits of Texas' former governors and past presidents of the Republic of Texas. These paintings line the walls of the Rotunda all the way up to the fourth floor of the Capitol. The Dome > This is the amazing Capitol dome which resembles the Nation's Capitol in Washington. The Texas star in the center of the dome is actually eight feet in diameter and looms 266 feet above the Rotunda's floor. The word "Texas" surrounds the star. If you clap your hands while standing in the middle of the Rotunda, you'll experience the amazing echo the domed ceiling produces. The Rotunda floor > The floor of the Rotunda, as well as most of floors throughout the Capitol, is made of terrazzo. Terrazzo is a mosaic flooring made by embedding small pieces of marble or granite in mortar and then polishing it until it is bright and shiny. The seals on the floor trace Texas history by representing the six flags that have flown over the state. The seal in the middle represents Texas as a Republic with its single white star and oak and olive branches symbolizing strength and peace. Directly below this seal is Texas in the United States. The other seals represent Texas under Spain, Texas under France, Texas under Mexico, and Texas under the Confederacy. On the second floor of the Capitol's east wing is the Senate Chamber which still looks much as it did when it was originally constructed. The 31 original walnut desks are still in use. On the desks where ink wells used to be are microphones for the senators to use when they wish to speak. Telephones with direct lines to the senators' offices have also been installed at each desk. The Lieutenant Governor, who presides over the Senate, sits at the large desk, or rostrum, at the front of the Chamber. The Secretary of the Senate uses the small podium directly in front of the rostrum. Notice the Senate's public gallery where you can watch the legislature when it is in meetings. Also occupying the east wing of the Capitol are Senate offices, committee rooms, the Lieutenant Governor's office and Reception Room. > These two large brass chandeliers hang in the center of the Chamber and were installed in 1890. The lights in the star points that spell out "TEXAS" make them a unique addition to the Chamber. The Chamber of the House of Representatives is the largest room in the Capitol and used today as it was originally intended in 1888. There are 150 members including the Speaker of the House who presides over the body. Due to this large number, members vote using key pads mounted on their desks. Representatives do not speak from their desks but at the podiums at the front and back of the room. There are some very important historical paintings in this room that date back nearly 100 years. In fact, the original 1836 San Jacinto Battle Flag, one of only two flags remaining from the revolution, hangs in the House Chamber during sessions. You can find the House Chamber, offices, the old Supreme Court and the House gallery in the west wing of the Capitol. Immediately north of the Capitol is the underground extension which was built in order to provide more space for committee rooms, offices, an auditorium, a public dining room, and the Capitol Bookstore. The extension covers over 600,000 square feet of space and has four levels with the two lower levels being for employee parking. Tunnels connect the extension to other state buildings. The extension has the feeling of being outdoors due to the massive skylights that provide natural light and spectacular views of the Capitol dome. There is also an outdoor rotunda that shows you how deep underground you really are!