Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 27
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The Governor's Reception Room, Capitol Building, Austin, 1987.
velvet-construction carpet (another type
of woven carpet).
The carpet was a major step in returning
the chamber to its late nineteenth
century appearance. Equally important to
a correct interpretation of the room was
the installation of wooden shutters, replacing
modem venetian blinds. By studying
the Capitol's construction drawings,
and closely inspecting surviving shutters
in the building, we were able to duplicate
the originals, including their being folded
in the historical fashion. The cost of the
shutter project is being sponsored by former
members of the House of Representatives,
under the rallying call of former
Speaker Bill Clayton.
Finishing touches for the interim restoration
of the chamber include reproductions
of the draperies which hung behind
the Speaker's podium, complete with an
elaborate six-inch tassel-and- fringe trim
that will match the original. The first
phase of drape installation in the chamber
was completed in time for the opening
of the legislative session on January
13. The custom-made and triple-draped
front curtain will be completed and added
in early 1987.
The restoration work also included
spaces adjoining the House Chamber.
The patterned carpet was placed in several
rooms, including the Members' Conference
Room and the Back Hall Recep
tion Corridor. These areas had been
cluttered with a mishmash of furnishings
dating from the 1940s to the 1960s. We
replaced them with American antiques
appropriate to the late nineteenth century,
and in keeping with the Renaissance
Revival- and Eastlake-style architectural
detailing of the Capitol. Fortunately such
American Victorian furniture is extremely
sturdy and well made and will function
under our present-day demands. Funding
of the antiques project was achieved by
finding a sponsor for each object. The
Texas Association for Interior Design was
very helpful in the early sponsorship of
pieces. To acknowledge the contributors,
their names will be included on a bronze
plaque to be located in the restored
The House wing restoration is by no
means complete. The master plan will
make several additional recommendations
for the spaces, such as reopening the
skylights in the House Chamber ceiling.
The interim restoration will serve as an
incentive to us, and the people of Texas,
to see the restoration of the entire building
through to its completion.
Besides the goddess, the Governor's
Public Reception Room, and the House
project, many other projects have been
initiated, including the establishment of
a Historical Art Loan Program for the
restored areas of the Capitol and the
landscape restoration of the south allee.
Thanks to the assistance of several Austin
Junior League volunteers, a great deal of
research, inventory, and catalogue work is
in progress for artifacts in the building.
The Texas State Capitol is truly a magnificent
building. Enough of its original
structure, detailing, and history has survived
to ensure that it can be returned to
its true Victorian splendor. It is no wonder
that Temple Houston spoke in superlatives
about the newly constructed Capitol.
His words inspire us as strongly as
they did his listeners nearly one hundred
years ago. As we prepare to celebrate the
centennial of this wonderful building, we
cannot help but echo the thoughts of
The architecture of a civilization is its most
enduring feature, and by this structure shall
Texas transmit herself to posterity, for here science
has done her utmost.... All that enlightenment
and art could do has been done.
Were I to repress the reflections that occur to
me now, I would be untrue to my convictions
and to this occasion. It would seem that here
glitters a structure that shall stand as a sentinel
of eternity, to gaze upon passing ages,
and, surviving, shall mourn as each separate
Bonnie Campbell is curator of the Capitol, Office
of the Architect of the Capitol, Austin, Texas.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/27/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.