Old Land Office Building

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 24, 2019

The Old Land Office Building, on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in Austin, was designed in 1854 by Christoph Conrad Stremme, a German-born architect who was a draftsman for the General Land Office. Construction began in mid-1857, with brick and wood hauled from Bastrop and stone from a place called Boulton's Quarry. The completed building, a 2½-story Romanesque Revival structure of stuccoed stone and brick, was opened for business in the spring of 1858. William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) was employed in the Land Office from January 1887 to January 1891. At least one of his short stories was set in the building.

In 1917, after the General Land Office moved to a new building, the legislature appropriated $10,000 for renovation of the old building and provided that it should be set aside for use of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas Division of the Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1932 the building was reroofed and the outside walls were stuccoed. The Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the Republic maintained the building without state support and operated separate museums on the first and second floors. The building was registered as a state historical landmark in 1962 and received a historical medallion in 1964; it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. In April 1989 the legislature approved a $4.5 million renovation project to restore the building to an 1890s-era style, and the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the Republic museums were moved to other quarters. The renovated building includes a first-floor permanent exhibit on the history of the Capitol, as well as second-floor space for traveling exhibits.

Austin American-Statesman, March 6, 1989.

  • Architecture
  • Other Structures

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Old Land Office Building,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/old-land-office-building.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 24, 2019