You drive by the State Capitol Building every day on your way to work in downtown Austin, and you’ve admired it a million times while exploring Central Austin, but how much do you really know about Texas’ governmental seat?

If your honest answer is, “Not much,” then don’t worry — that’s where we come in. These 10 facts can’t replace an in-person tour of the Capitol and its grounds, but they’ll definitely help to bring you up to speed.

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10. The Capitol’s design was selected through a national design competition

texas state capitol building elijah meyers architect national design competition contest blueprints plans 1881

Elijah E. Meyers’ original Capitol blueprints. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.


When state officials aimed to build a bigger and better Capitol building in 1881, they figured the best way to choose an architect was to hold a national design competition. Eight U.S. architects entered the contest, but in the end, Detroit-based Elijah E. Meyers came out on top with his “Renaissance Revival” design, which he modeled after the National Capitol and 15th century Italian architecture.