The Constitution of 1876 authorized the use of 3 million acres of public land in the Texas Panhandle to pay for a new Capitol. The Capitol Syndicate including John and Charles Farwell from Chicago paid for the construction of the present-day Capitol in exchange for the land, which became the famous XIT ranch.
Contractors began using limestone from south Austin for the foundation. They discovered it began to discolor when exposed to the atmosphere. The owners of Granite Mountain in nearby Burnet County donated all the Texas Sunset Red Granite required. Workers shipped 188,518 cubic feet of granite from the quarry on a specially constructed railroad.
Over 20,000 people attended the week of festivities to dedicate the new Capitol. The celebration included drill team competitions, military displays, band concerts and fireworks. The city added special streetcar lines to bring the large crowds from an encampment a mile outside of town.
May 16, 1888
Crowds lined Congress Avenue and filled the Capitol Grounds to view the official dedication of the Capitol. Senator Temple Houston, the youngest son of Sam Houston, accepted the building on behalf of the state. He expressed the pride Texans felt in the building. "This building fires the heart and excites reflections in the minds of all... the architecture of a civilization is its most enduring feature, and by this structure shall Texas transmit herself to posterity."