Hidden spots inside the Texas Capitol


by REBEKAH HOOD / KVUE.com and photojournalists KENNETH NULL and NICK BLACKHALL and editor JAYSON OAKS


Posted on April 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 11:28 PM

I wonder: Where are the hidden or rarely seen spots inside the Capitol?

From its underground vault, to its majestic domed top, the Texas Capitol is a staple of state history, but there’s a lot you might not know about the building.

KVUE.com's Rebekah Hood got a behind-the-scenes look at spots you won’t see on a normal tour of the monument. 

The tour began several stories above the Capitol’s entrance, inside an area under the dome where original stones and wood used to construct the capitol in the 1880s are still visible.

Click the player above to see the tour that also includes the beautiful and rarely-seen blue oculi, the huge subterranean vault, and much more. You'll also hear about the eight deaths that have occurred on Capitol property.

The Capitol building we know today was not the first. In 1839, the Republic Era Capitol was located near the intersection of 8th and Colorado streets. The next Capitol in Austin was located at Capitol Square and completed in 1853. It burned in November 1881.

According to our tour guide, Elizabeth Garzone, losses from that fire can never be estimated in dollars and cents. Losses included valuable collections of both ancient and then modern works of art and history along with many maps, all of the furniture, and a vast geological collection of minerals, ores and precious stones.

Luckily, plans were already underway for a new (our current) Capitol. A temporary Capitol was erected at the corner of Congress and 11th Street, while construction began.

On San Jacinto Day, April 21, 1888, the Capitol was opened to the public. This year it celebrates its 125th anniversary.

The Capitol is honoring its 125 years with an exhibit in the ground floor rotunda from March 25 through Friday April 5.  A companion exhibit at the Capitol Visitors Center, Lone Star Legacy, is on display through Dec. 31, 2013.