On impulse, I decided to drive down to Austin with Charles with plans of flying from the state capital to New York. Spending a few days with my cousin made me realize how surrealistic the photography world I live in. Charles was so down to earth and normal that I felt I actually come from another time.
‘Time travel? Only in sci-fi Orville,’ Charles said as we walked by the Texas State Capitol Building. It was already dark and the lights were already on. Looking at it through the lens of a camera, I have to accept that the Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture.
Widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished state capitols, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its “significant contribution to American history.”
Completed in 1888 as the winning design from a national competition, the Capitol’s style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy and characterized by classical orders, round arches and symmetrical composition.
The structural exterior is “sunset red” granite, quarried just 50 miles from the site. Additional structural support is provided by masonry walls and cast iron columns and beams. The foundation is limestone. Texas paid for the construction not in dollars, but in land: some three million acres in the Texas Panhandle that would later become the famous XIT Ranch.
‘Stop spouting those historical tidbits,’ I told Charles.
‘Can’t help it bro. I live around here. The main campus of The University of Texas at Austin is situated four blocks away.”
In his best public speaking voice, Charles said, “And, now for the most important thing simply because we are in Texas – an extraordinary edifice by any measure, the 1888 Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. Like several other state capitols, the 1888 Texas Capitol surpasses the National Capitol in height, rising almost 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.”
I was laughing so hard I almost did not hear what he said next.
“And that is for you to remember my prince when you have forgotten where home is, Old Hatchet face is waiting for you here.”
“What did you say Charles?”
“Huh? I did not say anything.”
Perhaps it was just the wind, or the sound of cars. No matter what, it was time to go back to Charles’ dorm. I have an early flight tomorrow.