National Register Process in Texas

The process of listing a property in the National Register of Historic Places is coordinated between the applicant, the Texas Historical Commission (THC), and the National Park Service (NPS). Information and documentation required by NPS is very specific, and the obligation for preparing a fully documented nomination rests with the applicant.

1. Determination of Eligibility by THC

The National Register process in Texas begins with a preliminary determination of eligibility by the THC, based upon review of materials submitted by an applicant, including a history of the property, current photos, and historic photos.

How to Request a Determination of Eligibility

Please allow THC staff at least 30 days to review your submission. If staff determines that the property is eligible, the applicant will receive forms and instructions. This preliminary review is not binding — it merely facilitates requests and discourages the investment of time and money in properties that fall short of the federal criteria. For districts or multiple property nominations, THC staff may schedule a site visit.

2. Preparation of Draft Nomination

Applicant prepares a fully documented and completed National Register Nomination Form filled out in accordance with NPS and THC guidelines and submits it to THC staff. Most nominations are prepared by private consultants hired either by individual property owners or by local governments or organizations. Some owners are interested in preparing their own nominations and are capable of doing so. The level of description, historical documentation, analysis, and writing in every nomination must meet accepted professional standards. The THC will not submit substandard nominations to the National Register, and staff cannot make major revisions or provide detailed critiques of inadequate nominations.

Submissions must include both a hard copy and CD (Microsoft Word) version of the text, photo documentation consisting of color digital files (per THC guidelines), location map, site plan, floor plans where applicable, a bibliography and boundary description. The applicant must also provide the names and mailing addresses of property owners.

3. Staff Review and Editing

The THC’s National Register staff will review and process each nomination, and may edit them as well, but the applicant is responsible for extensive editing in response to THC comments and recommendations. THC staff specifies any additional information or revisions needed to complete the nomination.

4. Placing the Nomination on the State Board of Review Agenda

Once all components of a nomination are received and a final draft is prepared, THC staff schedules the nomination for consideration by the State Board of Review. Staff will not place a nomination on the State Board of Review agenda until it has had the opportunity to thoroughly review the nomination and approve the final draft. Property owners receive official notification of when and where the nomination will be considered by the State Board of Review. Final drafts must be received by the THC at least 45 days (75 days for properties in Certified Local Government communities) in advance of the meeting date in order to comply with legal notification requirements. The State Board of Review meets at least three times annually (January, May, and September). Property owners have the opportunity to comment on the proposed action, either by supporting the nomination or by submitting an objection to the THC. If you wish to object, you must do so in a notarized letter that certifies both your ownership of the property and your objection to the nomination.

  • Please note that nominations are placed on the State Board of Review agenda on a first-come, first-served basis, and that staff cannot guarantee the placement of a nomination on an agenda until the final edited draft is approved.
  • SBR Meeting Dates and Deadlines are always posted at the bottom of the THC's National Register home page.

5. Presentation to the State Board of Review

The THC staff presents National Register nominations to the State Board of Review at its public meetings. The board is an advisory committee of experts in the fields of Texas architecture, history, archeology, and related disciplines. In public meetings, the board assesses each nominated property according to the National Register criteria for evaluation. The board reviews the nomination forms or documentation and any comments concerning the property's significance and eligibility for the National Register. The board  determines whether or not the property meets the National Register criteria for evaluation and make a recommendation to the State Historic Preservation Officer to approve or disapprove the nomination. The SHPO considers the opinion of the board before submitting nominations to the National Park Service.

6. Final Edit and Submission to the National Park Service

THC staff, with assistance from the applicant, revises approved nominations as necessary, taking into consideration the recommendations of the State Board of Review. The SHPO signs the completed nomination, with a recommendation whether to approve or not approve the nomination, and submits the nomination to the Keeper of the National Register at NPS.

7. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places

Upon receipt of the nomination, NPS posts the nomination in the Federal Register and, in most cases, lists the property in the National Register within 45 days.

8. Notification

THC staff notifies the property owner(s). Property owners may receive a letter and certificate of listing signed by the State Historic Preservation Officer stating that the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Property owners may also purchase a National Register plaque through the THC. The THC currently offers three sizes of bronze plaques for $350, $450, or $550, depending upon size.