the star at the top of the capitol dome in Austin is 8 feet across and is 218 feet up. on the other side (on the top of the dome), there is a statue known as the Goddess of Liberty. the original was made of iron and was raised to the top by hand (the guide did not specify what, precisely “by hand” might mean); it is now in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum up the street and a replacement of aluminium stands in her stead. she holds a five-pointed star, the symbol of Texas.
the rotunda is also, apparently, a whispering gallery, though we didn’t test this out. the portraits of all the presidents and governors of Texas line the walls of the rotunda, shifting one to the right with each new office-holder. on the first floor there is a bust of the first female governor of the state — Ma Ferguson — who served twice, from 1925-27 and 1933-35. (it took nearly sixty years for another woman to reach the post — Ann Richards served 1991-95.)