Monday, February 1, 2021

Austin: Bridges, Bats and Buildings

Texas Landmarks and Legends

The South Congress Bridge in Austin was completed in 1910, crossing at that time the Colorado River.  In 1960 the dam was built and created Lady Bird Lake.    In 2006 the bridge was renamed the Ann W. Richards Congress Bridge for the 45th Governor of Texas.  

What you'll find tucked under the bridge is what makes it so special!  There, you'll find the home to 1.5 million Mexican Free Tailed Bats.  The worlds largest bat colony.  Between March and November they put on quite a show for about an hour at dusk!  You can watch them take off toward their "night job" of consuming 20-30,000 insects each evening where they fly up to 60 mph and can go two miles high.  

Did you know that the Texas State Capitol is the largest state capitol in the USA?
Of course it is.... Everything's Bigger in Texas!!

The Goddess of Liberty sits at the top and because of this extension, it makes it even taller than the US Capitol.

This was the third Capitol of Texas:

The first elected government of Texas was in 1836 as The Republic of Texas.  Several different towns served as the capitol until finally settling in Austin in 1844.   Texas was admitted into the Union in December of 1849 and plans were made for a bigger and better seat of government.

The second, built in 1853 was destroyed by fire in 1881.

The "new" Capitol building was completed in 1888.  Because the State was financially broke during the construction, the builders, recruited from Iowa, were paid with what was considered to be the largest "barter transaction" at the time.   Those 3 million acres of land are now home to the largest cattle ranch in the world.   Legend has it that a nearby track of land that was not donated to them, but instead to University of Texas and it became the largest oil field in Texas.

Replica of the 1836 capitol in West Columbia, TX

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