Do you have a segment of historic highway in your county or town?
How can you get highway signage to commemorate it?
**Available only for the Bankhead Highway, Meridian Highway and Route 66.**
Signage is a way to support the visitor experience along designated historic Texas highways. To be eligible for Historic Texas Highways signage, it must be demonstrated that the route proposed for signs is associated with one of the officially designated highways in the State of Texas and illustrated on the 1923 Rand McNally Auto Trails Map. It should show the significance of the road segment within the larger context of the historic highway and its contribution to local and regional themes.
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has created a framework for applying for signs along historic road segments for highways in Texas.
Who can Apply for Historic Texas Highway Signs?
Anyone can apply for historic Texas highway signage, but the application must go through the local County Historical Commission (CHC). Tasks for completing the application include:
- Conduct research to show the association of the road segment with a historic Texas highway route.
- Develop a historic context to show significance, intrinsic qualities, and integrity of the road segment proposed for signage.
- Complete the Historic Texas Highways Signage application.
- Prepare supporting documentation for the signage application, including historical aerials, photos and map, newspaper articles, auto guides, city directory information, etc.
- Prepare project location maps, signage type and count, sign drawings and specifications based on templates.
- Set up a funding mechanism and partnership.
- Submit the application with documentation to the local CHC.
The THC accepts Historic Texas Highway Signage applications at any time throughout the year.
- Historic Texas Highway Signage Application (PDF)
- Historic Texas Highway Signage Application (fillable Word document)
To find your CHC contact information, please go to Contact Information for CHCs weblink. The CHC will review and provide comments on the application and documentation. Upon concurring with the signage request, the CHC will submit the application and documentation to the Texas Historical Commission.
Once the THC has reviewed and approved the application, it will be sent to TxDOT for review and final approval. The applicant and CHC are responsible for coordination with TxDOT for funding, fabrication, and installation of the Historic Texas Highway signs.
Where can the Signs go?
The historic highway signs may go along the Bankhead Highway, the Meridian Highway and Route 66 (see the 1923 Rand McNally road map) that is included in the TxDOT-managed right-of-way, except for interstates. As funding becomes available, we plan to add more historic highways. These roads include:
- US highways
- State highways
- Farm-to-market roads
- Ranch-to-market roads
- Business loops
- Park roads
They can also go along county roads, but would need county-level coordination by the applicant with county commissioners' permission after approval by the THC and TxDOT.
Useful Tools for the Application Process
To assist in the application process, the THC has created a Sign Management Plan report that details application requirements along with suggested research materials and potential funding sources.
Research materials include:
- Historic Context for the Development of Highways in Texas report (36 MB) provides historical information about Texas highways in general
- Bankhead Highway historic context
- Meridian Highway historic context
- Old Spanish Trail/Southern National Highway historic context
- Del Rio-Canadian Highway historic context
- North Texas Highway historic context
- East Texas Highway historic context
- Route 66 in Texas historic context along with maps for the Texas Route 66 alignments (11 MB)
Other materials include:
- 1923 Rand McNally map, map legend, and Historic Texas Highways list
- Sign Management Plan report with map and sign examples for Rural, Rural Town, and Urban situations
- A go-by example of a completed application with supporting documentation and sign plan.
- Historic Roads and Highways Program Sign Agreement
- National Park Service Interpretive Media for Wayside Exhibits
- Signage templates
Funding for Signage
Funding must be secured prior to submission of the application. Currently, there is no funding available from the THC or TxDOT. The applicant is responsible for providing funding for the sign fabrication and installation. A list of partnerships and funding mechanisms should be included with the application. A Historic Roads and Highways Program Sign Agreement will need to be signed by the county entity after the application has been approved by the THC and TxDOT.
Cities with Municipal Maintenance Agreements (MMA) with TxDOT may fabricate and install their own signs with TxDOT district approval of the sign locations, mounts, hardware, etc. As the MMA already addresses signs installed and maintained by the city, there is no need for the city to sign the Historic Roads and Highways Program Sign Agreement.
Counties and Cities without an MMA must sign the Historic Roads and Highways Program Sign Agreement and pay TxDOT $675 per highway sign for sign fabrication and installation. If the sign funding is coming from a third party, the third party will pay the county, then the county can issue payment to TxDOT.
What are the CHC's Responsibilities?
In order to minimize time and effort by the CHC, the application must come to the CHC completed. Any incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for completion. The review and approval process by the CHC includes:
- Confirm the application is properly filled out.
- Confirm the supporting documentation is included.
- Confirm that funding for the sign(s) and installation has been set up by the applicant.
- Review and discuss the application with the CHC board; give approval as appropriate with comments.
- Fill out the County Historical Commission Approval section of the application.
- Send in the application with supporting documentation to the THC Historic Texas Highways program.
The THC accepts Historic Texas Highway Signage applications at any time throughout the calendar year. Any incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.
Please submit the application in electronic format:
On CD or thumb drive to:
Texas Historical Commission
c/o Historic Texas Highways Program
PO Box 12276
Austin, Texas 78711
Or via a large file share service, such as DropBox.com, to:
For questions, please contact Leslie Wolfenden at 512-463-3386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Available only for the Bankhead Highway, Meridian Highway and Route 66 alignments at the present time.**