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Bexar Scrip No. 2692
[From The Rolling Stone, Saturday, March 5, 1894.]
Whenever you visit Austin you should by all means go to see the General Land Office.
As you pass up the avenue you turn sharp round the corner of the court house, and on a
steep hill before you you see a mediæval castle.
You think of the Rhine; the "castled crag of Drachenfels"; the Lorelei; and the vine-clad
slopes of Germany. And German it is in every line of its architecture and design.
The plan was drawn by an old draftsman from the "Vaterland," whose heart still loved the
scenes of his native land, and it is said he reproduced the design of a certain castle near
his birthplace, with remarkable fidelity.
Under the present administration a new coat of paint has vulgarized its ancient and
venerable walls. Modern tiles have replaced the limestone slabs of its floors, worn in
hollows by the tread of thousands of feet, and smart and gaudy fixtures have usurped the
place of the time-worn furniture that has been consecrated by the touch of hands that
Texas will never cease to honor.
But even now, when you enter the building, you lower your voice, and time turns
backward for you, for the atmosphere which you breathe is cold with the exudation of
The building is stone with a coating of concrete; the walls are immensely thick; it is cool
in the summer and warm in the winter; it is isolated and sombre; standing apart from the
other state buildings, sullen and decaying, brooding on the past.
Twenty years ago it was much the same as now; twenty years from now the garish
newness will be worn off and it will return to its appearance of gloomy decadence.
People living in other states can form no conception of the vastness and importance of the
work performed and the significance of the millions of records and papers composing the
archives of this office.
The title deeds, patents, transfers and legal documents connected with every foot of land
owned in the state of Texas are filed here.
Volumes could be filled with accounts of the knavery, the double-dealing, the cross
purposes, the perjury, the lies, the bribery, the alteration and erasing, the suppressing and
destroying of papers, the various schemes and plots that for the sake of the almighty
dollar have left their stains upon the records of the General Land Office.