Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991 Page: 12
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Original rotunda flooring pattern.
Present rotunda flooring pattern.
members, Legislative Reference Library
(with its original three story atrium),
security and tourist information.
Total mechanical, electrical, plumbing
and communications replacement will
accompany the restoration work, as will
new fire protection and phased removal of
asbestos. Four new high-speed elevators
will replace existing north lobby elevators.
Careful restoration construction phasing
has been developed to allow continuous
functioning of state government in the
Capitol, with completion scheduled for
Private donations are being accepted to
fund restoration of the Capitol's late nineteenth
century Victorian interiors and
historical grounds. The Master Plan has
identified "significant spaces" for their
historical and architectural importance to
the building. These areas will be refurbished
with authentic antiques and reproductions,
lighting, window treatments and
The original flooring design for the rotunda consisted
of a glass block octagon set in the center of the
space, surrounded by encaustic tile.
Money appropriated for improvements to the
Capitol to celebrate the 1936 Texas Centennial was
used to install a terrazzo floor in the rotunda of the
dome and the first floor public corridors, replacing
the original encaustic tile. The south lobby floor contains
the names of 12 battles fought by Texans
during the Texas War for Indpendence, the Civil
War and the Mexican War of 1846, interspersed
with crossed torches symbolizing victory. The circle
in the middle of the rotunda, where the octagon of
glass tiles existed originally, surrounds a fivepointed
star with the seals of the six nations whose
flags have flown over Texas placed between the
To help return the building to its original
appearance, corridor flooring on the fourth floor
should be replaced with longleaf pine. On the
remaining floors it should be encaustic tile to match
patterns and colors in historic photographs and in
preserved setting beds, where partitions have
covered the original flooring.
The exception to this is on the first floor, where
the terrazzo with the star in the center of the rotunda
has significance as public art of the Centennial era
and as a visible symbol of the Capitol.
For the building to be taken back to its
restoration period (1888-1915), the terrazzo and
seal would have to be replaced with encaustic tile and
glass block. In this case, the star perhaps could be
lifted and moved to the connection between the
existing building and the extension, in a setting
where it can be viewed from above and symbolically
reinforce the connection between old and new.
This, however, may not be feasible without
seriously damaging the star.
floor coverings of the period. Every effort is
being made by the State Preservation
Board staff to secure documentation of original
architectural artifacts and furnishings.
The Capitol was designated a National
Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant
contribution to American history."
Through the dedicated guidance of the
State Preservation Board, as caretakers of
the Capitol, this magnificent architectural
masterpiece will remain a cherished cultural
legacy and become an outstanding
national example of historic preservation.
Contributions to the Capitol Preservation
Project can be made by contacting:
State Preservation Board
P.O. Box 13286
Austin, Texas 78711
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Terrazzo floor in south lobby, first floor.
If the star is to remain in the rotunda, then the
terrazzo in the south entryway and the rotunda
should remain in place, to give it proper context. The
east and west corridors and the north lobby on the
first floor, where there are more public spaces than
anywhere in the building, could have the terrazzo
removed and replaced with encaustic tile to
demonstrate the historic appearance of the corridor
and lobby flooring.
State Preservation Board
The Honorable Ann Richards
The Honorable Bob Bullock
The Honorable Gib Lewis
Speaker of the House,
The Honorable Bill Haley
Senate Board Member
The Honorable Edmund Kuempel
House Board Member
Dealey Decherd Herndon
Citizen Board Member
The State Capitof
Photo courtesy of
the Library of Congress.
12 HERITAGE * SUMMER 1991
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991, periodical, Summer 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45423/m1/12/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.