Houston, TX – Main Street and Texas Avenue, April 19, 1837 – 1839
The first home of the General Land Office shared the same building as the first Capitol Building of the Republic of Texas in Houston, TX. Commissioner John P. Borden qualified for the position of Commissioner on June 21, 1837, and opened the Land Office for business from this location on October 1, 1837.
Austin, TX – Pine Street and Colorado Street, 1839-1841, 1843-1851
The General Land Office moved to Austin with the rest of the Texas government in 1839. The Land Office was located in lot seven (7) of Block 43 in downtown Austin, at the corner of Pine (7th Street) and Colorado. In a wood-framed building, the Land Office was certainly not fireproof and not as secure as was desired. While the Land Office was in this location, the infamous Archives War transpired. There is testimony from Commissioner Thomas William “Peg Leg” Ward that during this altercation grape shot was fired at the Land Office to stop government officials from taking the records. Ward testified that some of the grape shot passed through the building entirely.
During this time, the GLO operated without the archives, which had been captured by Austin citizens during the Archives War. Original image courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Prints & Photographs #1/103-722.
During this time, the GLO operated without the archives, which had been captured by Austin citizens during the Archives War.
Austin, TX – Colorado Street and Peach Street, 1851-1857
The General Land Office moved to a large two-story limestone building in 1851. This building was located on the eastern half of block 148, fronting Colorado Street between College (12th Street) and Peach Street (13th Street). For the first time, the valuable land records of Texas were in a solid structure. Commissioner Stephen Crosby was the only person to serve in this building as commissioner, as almost immediately after the Land Office entered its new home, the Commissioner informed the legislature that a bigger building was needed for the expanding land records and increased work load.
Austin, TX – The Old Land Office Building, 1857 – 1917
Using a construction design known as Rundbogenstil, or “Rounded Arch,” Conrad Stremme, a German-born draftsman employed at the General Land Office, designed the iconic building that the General Land Office called home for almost sixty years. This new building, modeled like a medieval castle, was much more spacious than the previous home of the GLO. The new building was fireproof, allowing for safer storage of files. The General Land Office Building, or Old Land Office Building as it is called now, became the first permanent edifice in the capitol complex. The castle-like structure became Austin’s first iconic landmark. Today, this building houses the Capitol Visitor’s Center.
Austin, TX – The James Earl Rudder Building, 1917-1962
This turn-of-the-century, modern, four-story building is located at 1019 Brazos Street and features 18-foot ceilings and terrazzo and marble flooring. This building is located immediately south of the Old General Land Office Building. Commissioner J.T. Robison officially opened this office on September 16, 1918. The building was later named for Land Commissioner, and famed Texas A&M Aggie and World War II hero, James Earl Rudder.
Austin, TX – The Lorenzo De Zavala Building , 1962 – 1974
In April of 1962, the Land Office moved yet again. This time to the brand new Lorenzo De Zavala Building. This "stripped down classicism" government building was constructed in 1959 and dedicated in 1961. The De Zavala Building is clad in the same sunset red granite as the State Capitol. This building housed the Texas General Land Office for twelve years along with the Texas State Library and Archives.
Austin, TX – The Stephen F. Austin Building , 1974 – Present
The Texas General Land Office moved to its current location in January 1974. Housed in a modern eleven-story building made of the same sunset red granite as the State Capitol, this building is one of modern convenience and state-of-the-art facilities. The current home of the General Land Office protects the historic document and map collection of the General Land Office. The Archives and Records of the Texas General Land Office can be easily accessed by visiting 1700 North Congress Avenue, just north of the State Capitol. Historic maps and documents can be viewed with assistance from General Land Office staff on the first floor on a walk-in basis or by appointment by calling 1-800-998-4GLO.