When visiting Austin in early February, I was reminded of the western way of setting up cities on a grid system (compared to Altanta, where it was all built on pig paths and horsetrails, or Santa Fe that came together at the junction of old trade routes hundreds of years ago). This 1873 map, at left, was developed just months after Austin was designated as the state capitol. This is looking from the southeast to the northwest. It is still easy to navigate.
The Texas State Capitol building is impressive. Maybe it was the bustle of the opening of the session, or knowing a few of the people working, or the intensity of the business in a times such as these. This week I was in the New Mexico State Capitol building (which is called The Roundhouse -- like the round way of leadership in this state of Kivas, I wonder?) to support a new piece of legislation. In both places I saw cowboy boots with suit pants. Texas, unlike New Mexico, continues to meet every other year because, our law student tour guide said, these guys have other jobs and legislative service doesn't pay that much. It made me think about some of the things I'm reading about the corrupt nature of politics in New Mexico. There isn't that much business here. I'll post photos from both state houses on my Flickr site (link is on the blog sidebar).
This year Santa Fe is celebrating its 400th anniversary and it remains the oldest capitol city in the United States. My friend Mary, sitting at breakfast in Austin's Driskill Hotel bakery cafe, established in 1886, thought that you'd never have the experience in eating in such an old place in Oklahoma.