The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 324
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Although it was apparently a well-known fact that under the terms of
the 1882 contract for the construction of the building the contractor
was not required to furnish the rooms when completed (or to light the
building or arrange the grounds), no attention seems to have been
given to the furnishings until November, 1886. The Third Biennial Re-
port of the Capitol Building Commission mentioned the need to furnish
the building: "We have the reports upon a large number of capitol
buildings in the various States, and also considerable data and other
valuable information in regard to the kind of furniture used in other
The commissioners' report must have spurred on the legislature. On
March 1, 1887, Senator John M. Claiborne introduced Senate Bill 299,
which primarily addressed furnishing the Capitol. Claiborne was chair-
man of a special joint committee established to decide, among other
things, the course of action in furnishing the building.4 The March 6,
1888, Austin Daily Statesman quoted the bill in full. A State Capi-
tol Board was to be created, which would prepare a list of the type
and amount of furniture and fixtures needed, advertise for bids for
the items, and accept the lowest and best bidders. The bill provided
$200oo,ooo000 to carry out the requirements.5
On March 4, 1887, the Austin Daily Statesman printed a long and elo-
quently worded editorial in support of the legislation:
It seems to be a very necessary appropriation for a most obvious purpose ...
It is foolishness to argue that the amount is too large.... This capitol will not
only be the pride of the state of Texas but of this country, and it is only mete
[sic] and proper that it should be furnished in a manner somewhat in confor-
mity with the grandeur and magnificence of its appearance. If a wealthy man
were to spend a large sum in erecting a dwelling, and then were to furnish it in
a style no better than that adopted by a poor man, what would be the opinion of
such an one?6
There may have been serious opposition to the amount of the appro-
priation, because two days later yet another strongly worded editorial
3Thzrd Bienmnal Report of the Capitol Building Commission... to the Governor of Texas, Austin, No-
vember I, 2886 (Austin: Triplett & Hutchmings, State Printers, 1886), 5. The information they
amassed has apparently not survived
The committee was also to be responsible for arranging for the erection of porticoes origi-
nally designed for the west and east wings of the Capitol in accordance with the north portico
then being built, improving the Capitol grounds, and purchasing two blocks of ground on the
north side of the building to form a part of the Capitol grounds. Senate Bill 299, pp. 1-3, En-
grossed and Printed Version, Twentieth Legislature, Regular Session, Records of the Legis-
lature (RG oo), (Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin).
5Austin Daily Statesman, Mar. 6, 1887.
6Ibid., Mar. 4, 1887.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/362/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.