designed by Elijah Myers in 1881 (who was later all but fired from the project), the current statehouse in Texas was completed in 1888. the previous structure burned to the ground and the fledgling state did not have the funds to pay for construction of a new building. instead, a barter transaction granted over three million acres of ranch land to people who could provide the construction material and manpower to complete the project. that acreage became the XIT Ranch, at one time the largest cattle ranch in the world (and mentioned in Timothy Egan’s Worst Hard Time). initially, the facade was intended to be limestone but, when this proved undesirable due to discoloration, it was replaced by the now distinctive red granite from Marble Falls.
the building has nearly 900 windows and more square footage than any other state capitol building. it’s slightly smaller than the capitol in D.C., but is 15 feet taller.