The government of Texas conducted its business within several humble structures before the current granite icon was built, but only one had a steam engine.
That was the Cayuga, the floating Capitol of Texas. She was a side-wheeler, 97 feet long, built in Pittsburgh (that's right, Pennsylvania) in 1832. She was brought to Texas by way of New Orleans in 1834 and spent the next few years moving goods up and down the Brazos and around Galveston Bay.
On April 15, 1836, she evacuated President David G. Burnet and his cabinet from Harrisburg, just ahead of Santa Anna. They arrived in Galveston four days later, but the government remained aboard and conducted its business afloat until the 26th. It was on board theCayuga they received word of the improbable victory of the Texian army at San Jacinto.
After the war, she was rechristened the Branch T. Archer, servicing Galveston Bay and settlements up the Trinity River. At some point her name was changed again to Pioneer.
It was under that name that in late 1839, the Sheriff of Liberty County auctioned her off to satisfy claims against her owners. That's when she floated away and out of history.
Nobody knows what became of her, but it's not likely she lasted very long. She was seven years old and working in a harsh climate. In those days, before wood preservatives and modern marine coatings, that was getting long in the tooth.
But the Cayuga is not the only Texas Capitol to float away.
The first session of the Congress of the Republic of Texas met in a drafty clapboard shack at Columbia (now West Columbia) in the fall of 1836. After the government moved on, it fell into a sad state.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas were about to launch an effort to save and restore it when the 1900 Storm struck the upper Texas coast. What didn't get blown away floated off.