Benefits of Restoring Historic Courthouses

Band parades in front of the courthouse.In addition to saving important historic landmarks, there are many benefits that follow the restoration of a historic courthouse through the Texas Historical Commission's award-winning Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.

Restored historic courthouses have proven to be an economic booster for the Texas and local county economies. The counties with restored historic courthouses also see an impact in the form of increased safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, tourism, and more.

Economic Benefits of Restored Historic Courthouses

  • Since 1999, through courthouse preservation projects 
    • over 10,650 jobs for Texans have been created
    • over $555 million in income generated
    • over $681 million increase in gross state product
    • and over $40 million in state and local taxes
  • 21 major motion pictures include scenes shot in a historic Texas courthouse, including “Bernie,” “True Grit,” “Lone Star,” and “The Tree of Life". HBO's popular series "The Leftovers" features the Caldwell County Courthouse in Lockhart.
  • Travel in Texas is a $69 billion industry. Texas towns with restored courthouses are frequently a heritage tourism destination as demonstrated by visitors from 29 states and seven countries to the DeWitt County Courthouse over a three-year period.
  • Nearly half of Texas’ restored historic courthouses are in a Main Street community.
  • An example of how a Texas community can benefit from its courthouse restoration is Lampasas, which now has more than nine courthouse square events that draw approximately 9,000 people annually.
  • A common story among communities with restored courthouses: the commercial properties on the Wharton County Courthouse square experienced a 279 percent increase in property values between 2006–2010, after the courthouse project was completed. Occupancy rates increased from 30 to 70 percent during the same period.

Impact on Local Counties

Not only is each courthouse restored to its historic appearance, but each is fully updated to the 21st century. Here are some of the direct benefits to counties:

  • Workers repair McLennan County Courthouse.A restored courthouse is the centerpiece of a vital historic downtown square and increases heritage tourism.
  • Once the building has been restored, its maintenance becomes manageable.
  • Updated mechanical systems with more energy efficient systems can lead to significant savings on utility costs, not to mention provide a more sustainable option.
  • Updated, modern electrical systems create a safer environment for county employees and residents, as well as increased energy efficiency.
  • ADA-accessible ramps and elevators are installed and compliance with other accessibility requirements is met so that the courthouse is accessible to everyone.
  • Installation of fire detection, alert, and suppression systems (sprinkler system) increase user safety and help limit damage in the event of a fire.
  • Restored courthouses provide safe and secure storage for vital county records as well a more efficient space for use of the records by the public.
  • Weatherized windows and doors reduce energy use due to infiltration.
  • Buildings are updated to comply with Life Safety Code requirements.
  • Modern security, audio/visual, and acoustic treatment systems are installed.
  • Restoration projects have increased employment in the construction industry and strengthened skills of craftspeople in many specialty trades.
  • Counties receive post-restoration maintenance training.