Texas State Capitol

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I went to the Texas State Capitol today.  My timing wasn't very good.  The building is currently undergoing restoration work and parts of both the inside and outside aren't visible.  That's bad enough but I arrived on a morning when there had been a shooting at the University of Texas, which is just seven blocks from the capitol, and the police had some streets in the neighborhood closed as they searched for a possible second shooter.  After a lot of driving around the neighborhood I eventually found the visitor parking building.

Like most state capitols, the Texas State Capitol is a neo-classical building with a large central dome, which is taller than the US Capitol's, originally built to house the Governor's Office, Legislature and Supreme Court.  Like most, they've outgrown the space.  They've built a large 4-story addition connected to the capitol that is entirely underground except for some skylights so the views of the capitol aren't obstructed.  They also moved the Supreme Court to another building.  Again, like most, it had been completely restored relatively recently.  The current work is just minor repairs.

The Texas State Capitol is a very busy place.  There were lots of groups coming in for tours.  I went for a tour and wound up with a relatively small group.  The tour was relatively short and does not include many parts of the building.  I've seen claims that it's the largest state capitol but it's not.  The Louisiana State Capitol is taller, although it's a skyscraper not a traditional style capitol, and even some of the other traditional style capitols, such as Missouri, have more square footage.  In any case, it's an impressive building.  I'll have to come back when the outside isn't hidden behind scaffolding, the inside of the rotunda doesn't have netting in the ceiling and the House of Representatives is open.

Since I couldn't get many good pictures inside or out due to the restoration, I didn't stay very long.  I had an appointment to get my car serviced and I thought I was going to arrive early but my GPS and I both had trouble with the address.  The dealer is on what I had misread as lh-35 (the first character being the lower case letter after k) and the GPS hadn't heard of that.  I eventually realized it was Ih-35 (the first character being the upper case letter after h.  As I type this, the two characters are shown identically but when I did a spell check it used a font with serifs and there was a slight difference.  I'm not sure which font you'll see but they can be impossible to tell apart.)  When I set my GPS for that it started to lead me about 20 miles north of the center of town.  I tried calling while I was driving but kept getting switched to voice mail.  I eventually found a place to park, called again and managed to reach someone who could give me directions.

I eventually found the dealer and got my car serviced.  I then headed for Marathon, the town closest to Big Bend National Park.  There were a few traffic tie-ups on the way there due to accidents.  I also ran into an immigration checkpoint, something I've never seen before.  I got to Marathon after midnight and checked into my hotel.
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Chas on

You proved you were not an Irish illegal I hope.

wheresgordon on

I didn't actually prove it. They didn't ask for ID. I guess I sounded American enough, even to a Texan, that they believed me.

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