General Land Office Building (Austin, Texas)

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General Land Office Building
General land office building 2006.jpg
The Old Land Office Building
General Land Office Building (Austin, Texas) is located in Texas
General Land Office Building (Austin, Texas)
Location 108 East 11th Street
Austin, Texas
Coordinates 30°16′21.72″N 97°44′21.48″W / 30.2727000°N 97.7393000°W / 30.2727000; -97.7393000Coordinates: 30°16′21.72″N 97°44′21.48″W / 30.2727000°N 97.7393000°W / 30.2727000; -97.7393000
Area 0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Built 1857
Architect William Baker & Q. Nichols
Architectural style Romanesque
Governing body Texas State Preservation Board
NRHP Reference # 70000769[1]
Added to NRHP August 25, 1970

The General Land Office Building, completed in 1857,[2] in Austin, Texas is the oldest surviving state government office building in the city and the first building designed by a university-trained architect (German architect Christoph Conrad Stremme). The building features a dramatic medieval castle style known as Rundbogenstil, or "rounded arch" around the windows and doors. There is also a Norman style influence in the castle-like parapets. The exterior walls are limestone rubble smoothed over with stucco and scored to simulate cut stone blocks.[3]

The building is located on the southeast corner of the Texas State Capitol grounds. One employee, William Sidney Porter, later became famous as short-story writer O. Henry. Porter worked in the office from 1887 to 1891 and later set "Bexar Script No. 2692" and "Georgia's Ruling" there.[3]

The building functioned as the state's land office building until 1917 when the agency moved to a larger building across the street. From 1919 until 1989, the building housed museums run by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and United Daughters of the Confederacy.[3][4]

The building was modified during the mid-20th century but was restored between 1989 and 1992. The project returned the building's interior and exterior to resemble its late 19th century appearance.

Today, it serves as the Capitol Visitor's Center, offering exhibits and tours about the Texas State Capitol. There is also a Texas Department of Transportation Travel Center that offers free maps and literature on travel destinations throughout the state.

The building was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1962 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1970.[3][1]


  1. ^ a b Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "nris" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Thompson, Karen; Howell, Kathy (2000). Austin (TX) (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-0738508320. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Old Land Office Building". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Vol. II. Turner Publishing Company. 2001. p. 11. ISBN 1-56311-641-3. 

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