Heritage, 2008, Volume 2 Page: 25
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(continuedfrom page 16)
through judicial proceedings. These along with the other pre-1836
grants in Texas total approximately 26,000,000 acres of land originally
granted either by Spain or Mexico.
Because Spanish and Mexican land grants form the basis of title
for so much land in Texas, the land office since its inception has
employed a translator to assist with these records. "The records
in the Spanish Collection are still pertinent today to genealogists
looking for family roots, attorneys and those researching title, surveyors
retracing old boundaries, and historians asking new questions
about our past," Greaser observed.
The Spanish Collection of the Texas General Land Office is only
a small section of the vast number of original land grants housed
in the GLO's Archives and Records Division. Over time the once
undivided land has been parceled into the private and public land
holdings that form today's expansive mosaic of land ownership in
Texas. Underlying each of these tracts is an original land grant First draft of the Consi
conserved in the land office. Courtesy of the Texas (
Texas has used its public lands for many purposes, including
military bounties, debt payments, and education, and each case is
documented in the GLO's records. Land also played a critical role
in the construction of the present Capitol. In 1876, the framers
of the present state constitution set aside 3 million acres of land
in the Panhandle to pay for a new Capitol. By 1880 the land had P R L 5 t
been surveyed, and a building design competition was underway, F 0
but things had to be expedited when the old Capitol burned to
the ground in 1881. Contractors were chosen in 1882, and after
problems with building stone and labor strikes, the Capitol, with
its distinctive red granite, was opened to the public on April 21,
1888. The contractors had agreed to build the Capitol in exchange
for the 3 million acres in the Panhandle that had been reserved for
construction. In 1882 this land was valued at $1.5 million, and the
contractors formed the XIT Ranch to use the land until it could be
sold. Today those same lands, sprawling across 10 counties, are valued
at $7 billion.
Land continues to be an integral part of Texas's image as a place
that's bigger-than-life. With 20.3 million acres of land, the state
of Texas is still the largest landowner in Texas, and the General Excavations at San Fel
Val Verde County,
Land Office plays an essential role in managing this asset. Much Val Verdeounty
of this area is submerged land extending 10.3 miles into the Gulf
of Mexico. The sales, leases, and mineral rights associated with
the Texas General Land Office have generated more than $6.8 C 0
billion since 1854 for the Permanent School Fund. From the A R C M E C
time of Spanish exploration and settlement to the present-day,
the history of Texas is inextricably tied to the story of its land,
a story detailed in countless shelves of documents at the Texas 2105 Donley
General Land Office. Tel: ('
John Dryden is a history student at the University of Texas at Austin.
He wrote this article in collaboration with the GLO staff
HERITA GE I Volume 2 2008
itution of the Republic of Texas, March 6, 1836.
;eneral Land Office.
RV I N T HE PA5T
R THE FUTURE
Excavating Confederate Veterans,
Texas State Cemetery, Travis County, 1995
)LO ICAL HE RITAGE
FWITTAND ASSOCIATES, INC.
Cultural Resources Services
Avenue, Suite 400 * Austin, Texas 78758-4513
512) 459-3349 Fax: (512) 459-3851
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2008, Volume 2, periodical, 2008; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45358/m1/25/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.