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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Texas Proud
The Texas Capitol Building
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Texas, the Lone Star State, is a giant of a state, and Texans are known for their large, welcoming hearts. "Friendship" is the state's motto, and the people of Texas live by that motto.

 

Texas comes from the word "teysha" meaning "hello friend" in the language of the Caddo Indian tribes. Spanish explorers and settlers used this word to refer to the friendly tribes throughout Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

 

Prior to the annexation of Texas as the 28th U.S. state on December 29, 1845, Texas history records fourteen capital cities under flags of Spain, Mexico and the Republic of Texas. In 1519, the capital of Texas was Mexico City, Mexico. In 1721, it was Los Adaes, which is now Robeline, Louisiana. And throughout 1836, the Republic of Texas kept moving its seat of government to avoid the Mexican army that was seeking to crush the revolution of Texas independence from Mexico.

The flag above shows the indomitable spirit of Texans who value their freedom. This flag was flown at the Alamo where the entire siege from Mexican soldiers lasted thirteen days. No one defending the Texan stronghold survived. The battle has become famous for many reasons, one being the large number of illustrious personalities among its combatants. David Crockett and James Bowie lost their lives at the Alamo and Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna fought there as well.

Although Texas lost the battle at the Alamo, they won the war for Independence from Mexico at San Jacinto weeks later. This flag was flown at San Jacinto as a reminder of the battle of the Alamo to spur troops on.

 

The Texas Congress chose Austin as the permanent capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839. A series of capitol buildings served the growing Republic until finally, the Texas Constitution - adopted February 15, 1876 - provided for the sale of public land to finance a new state capitol building. The builders accepted as payment, three million acres of land in ten counties of the Texas Panhandle. This land became the famed XIT Ranch.

Located fifty miles away, the owners of Granite Mountain offered building stone free of charge to the state. Here you can see the distinctive Sunset Red Texas Granite from that quarry.

 

The Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. Sited on one of Austin's highest points, it commands a sweeping view towards the Colorado River from its southern façade. Wonderful views of the Capitol's dome from many vantage points throughout the Austin area are protected from obscuration by state law.

The Capitol's style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy. An extraordinary edifice by any measure, the 1888 Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. At the time, the final cost was approximately $3.7 million - close to $100 million dollars today.
 

The exterior walls are made from approximately 4,000 loads of this famous Red Texas Granite and 11,000 loads of limestone. They were transported by a specially built railroad and by teams of oxen.

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The Texas Capitol and approximately twenty-two acres of surrounding grounds and monuments are defined by an historical iron fence which was originally put in place to keep wandering livestock from invading the capitol grounds. Residents and visitors are allowed to come to these grounds for walks and to have picnics under the shady trees. The grounds were restored to their 1888-1915 appearance in 1995.

 

Here is one of  twin cannons at the south entrance of the Capitol presented to the Republic of Texas in 1836 by Major General T. J. Chambers. They are 12 pounder light field guns used in the Texas revolution as well as in the Civil War, where Texas took the side of the Confederates.

 

Self-guided tours of the grounds and Capitol building are available during business hours. If you’d rather be shown around, there are free daily tours of the Capitol, which teach you about the building, the Texas legislature, and some Texas history. Tours last about 45 minutes; they start in the South Foyer and end in the Capitol Extension.

Our guide was well informed with a sense of drama when he spoke of battles and famous personages.

 

The unique international background of Texas is artistically immortalized here in stone in the rotunda floor of the Capitol Building. Texas has flown six flags during its history. France was the first and is represented by the Fleur-de-lis for the coat of arms of the Bourbon Kings of France. For the Kingdom of Spain, there is a seal that depicts the lions and castles of Leon and Castile. Mexico's seal displays the famed eagle and snake of Mexican legend. The Seal of the Republic of Texas with its Lone Star, forms the core of this giant pattern. The Great Seal of the United States is shown on the left, and in the upper left is the Seal of the Confederacy picturing an equestrian figure of George Washington at Richmond.

Both the state flag and the state seal have a Lone Star. The Lone Star came to be when in 1821 Governor of the Mexican Providence of Texas, Henry Smith was reading some important papers. He signed them and then declared that Texas needed a seal. His overcoat had large brass buttons with the impression of a five pointed star on them. The Governor cut one of the buttons from his overcoat, and stamped it in sealing wax on the documents.

Voila! The Lone Star of Texas.
 

Here you see the Texas Senate Chamber located in the east wing where the thirty-one elected members of the Texas Senate deliberate. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate and both his office and the office of the Secretary of the Senate are behind the Senate Chamber. The original Lieutenant Governor's walnut desk is located in front of reproduction draperies and a portrait of Stephen Austin.

The many framed photos on the walls of the Senate (you can see some on the second floor here in this picture) are photos of the Senators as well as their children or grandchildren as a reminder to all that the decisions made in this room affect posterity.

The woodwork in the Capitol Building is primarily of oak and pine, but cherry, walnut, mahogany and cedar were also used.

 

A view from the Capitol Building's Senate Chamber looking towards 11th Street.

You can see some of the oldest of the seventeen monuments here from this view, as well as another cannon that dates back to 1865.

 

The House of Representatives Chamber, the largest room in the Capitol building, is located in the west wing and is the meeting place for the one hundred and fifty elected members. Votes are cast electronically and appear on a small panel on the Speaker's desk and on the two large panels on either side. You can see the names of the Representatives listed on these panels here in this photo. When they vote, a red or green light shows next to their name to register their decision.

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Members of the press have their own box to the Speaker's left, and bills are read at the podium directly in front of him. Behind the Speaker's rostrum is the original 1836 San Jacinto battle flag.

 

The Capitol Extension, carved out of solid rock and sixty five feet deep into the ground, is located on the north side of the Capitol. It is a four-level underground structure completed in 1993 and is connected to the Capitol by three pedestrian tunnels.

This photo shows the Seal Court with its large terrazzo rendition of the reverse side of the Texas Seal. You can pick out the six flags flown over Texas: The Kingdom of France, The Kingdom of Spain, The United Mexican States, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America and The United States of America.

The upper half of the shield depicts the Alamo. On the left stands the famous Gonzales 'Come and Take It' Cannon. On the right is 'Vince's Bridge' which was destroyed during the Battle of San Jacinto, a strategic move which led to victory for the Texans.  And of course, the Lone Star of Texas at the top.

 

Architect E. E. Myers of Detroit designed the Goddess of Liberty statue as the crowning element of the Texas Capitol. Molds arrived in mid-January of 1888 by railroad, possibly from Chicago, and a foundry was set up in the southeast basement corner of the unfinished Capitol. The casting of the zinc statue was in eighty separate pieces that were welded together to form four major sections: the torso, the two arms, and the head.

Workmen hoisted the four sections to the top of the Capitol dome and assembled the statue with large iron screws during the last week in February of 1888. Standing nearly sixteen feet tall and weighing approximately 2,000 pounds, the original goddess is in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum; the one standing on top of the Capitol now is a replica.

After sandblasting, primer and paint, the replica of the goddess was ready to ascend back to her beautiful perch - not an easy project. The National Guard Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter that had taken her down was supposed to put her back in place - but the last phase was much more difficult than the first. High winds extended the twenty minute operation to multiple tries over the next three days. Austinites held their breath and the drama saturated local news.
 

If you are ever in Austin, Texas, take the time to visit the Capitol Building. It's a fascinating piece of American history. The tours are free and we highly recommend it.

The Capitol building is open:
Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m

To make tour reservations call 512.305.8400

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About the Authors
 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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