Agency: Texas Historical Commission FAQs

Q. How can I join the Texas Historical Commission?

The Texas Historical Commission is a public agency funded by the state with assistance from the federal government. All of its services are available to anyone who makes a request. Private heritage organizations with memberships do exist for those interested in volunteer preservation work.

Q. How can I apply for a historical marker?

First you will need to determine whether the topic you want to mark is eligible for an Official Texas Historical Marker. Read the marker application guidelines, which includes the criteria and procedures. If you want to proceed, you need to contact the County Historical Commission (CHC) for the county in which the marker will be placed, as that group must approve your application before it is submitted to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). To find your CHC contact person, send a note to our preservation list coordinator. The Texas Historical Commission marker coordinator has additional information, including a sample narrative histories and research checklists that you may find helpful. Cemeteries are marked through the Historic Texas Cemetery designation.

Q. Do you have a list of every historical marker in the state?

The Texas Historical Commission conducted an inventory of the state's historical markers, which total approximately 11,500. Inventory information is available through our searchable Atlas database.

Q. My community's downtown is dying. What can I do?

The Texas Main Street Program of the Texas Historical Commission works with small and urban communities to revitalize downtowns and central business districts using a combination of economic development and preservation techniques.

Q. How can a property threatened with demolition be saved?

Positive communication often is your best tool. It may be possible for a local nonprofit organization to step in and lend assistance, or intervention may be possible according to state and federal laws. Consult with the Texas Historical Commission staff for possible technical or planning assistance. Contact us at 512.463.6100 for assistance.

Q. I'm worried about an older cemetery in my town. It's neglected and overgrown. Can you do something about this?

Contact our historic cemetery preservation coordinator who can provide information about how to rally local support, properly clean headstones and conduct surveys. To address the problem of cemetery destruction and to record as many as possible, the agency has launched the Historic Texas Cemetery designation.

Q. Where can I find money to restore my home?

The Texas Historical Commission does not offer grants to restore private homes. Federal and nonprofit loan programs are available, but most are limited to certain types of projects and involve restrictions.

Q. Does the THC offer grants?

Yes. Most grants are geared to public buildings and community projects.

Q. I need research assistance. Do you have a library?

The Texas Historical Commission library is open to the public. Information on historical markers, National Register sites, State Antiquities Landmarks, historic county courthouses and other architectural or archeological projects is available. Call 512.463.5753 for directions, hours or other information.

Q. I am concerned about health issues sometimes associated with older buildings, such as lead paint and asbestos. Can you offer helpful information?

Yes. Staff Preservation Consultants can answer your questions over the phone and sometimes, depending on the circumstances, make site visits. Also, informational booklets published by the National Park Service and other agencies are available through the Texas Historical Commission.

Q. I think I may have spotted an archeological site. What do I do?

It's not easy to recognize an archeological site. However, if you suspect you've stumbled onto something significant, report it to the Texas Historical Commission's Archeology Division, particularly if the site appears to be threatened with vandalism or destruction by a construction project. If possible, pinpoint the site's location on a map, take photos of the area and determine the property owner.

Q. What historical designations are available for buildings or sites?

The Texas Historical Commission administers four historical designation programs: the National Register of Historic Places; Recorded Texas Historic Landmark; Historic Texas Cemetery; and State Antiquities Landmark. Any resource that meets the individual requirements of these programs may qualify for designation. Contact us for more information.

Q. I understand federal tax credits are available for certain types of historic rehabilitation projects. How can I find out more?

Preservation tax incentives are available for the rehabilitation of incoming-producing buildings 50 years old or older. This federal program is administered for Texas by the Texas Historical Commission's Division of Architecture.

Q. How can I trace my family's genealogy?

The best place to start is the Genealogy Division of the Texas State Library and Archives, 512.463.5463. The Texas Historical Commission does not have genealogy services.