By Gregory Smith, National Register Coordinator, THC
The James and Susannah Cunningham Homestead, featuring an 1855 dogtrot house with a stone kitchen added in 1873, is believed to be the oldest house in Comanche County. The 1914 Brooks County Courthouse in Falfurrias, designed by master architect Alfred Giles, has served as the center of county government for nearly a century. Pittsburg’s central business district features more than 60 historic buildings, reflecting the city’s development from the 1860s through the 1960s.
What do this Antebellum home, county courthouse, and downtown district—hundreds of miles apart from each other—have in common? They were all recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and were the first such listings in Comanche, Brooks, and Camp counties.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation, and includes more than 3,000 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from the impact of federally funded projects, as well as access to technical expertise and grant funds to facilitate preservation.
Income-producing properties are also eligible for federal tax benefits for sympathetic rehabilitation work. Listed properties reflect the diversity of Texas’ rich cultural heritage and association with significant events and persons, and highlight the distinctive architectural character of the state.
Since 1969, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) has assisted with the preparation and processing of National Register nominations. Most of these were initiated at the local level by property owners, county historical commissions, preservation groups, and Texas Main Street and Certified Local Government programs.
However, 33 Texas counties have no properties listed in the National Register. Each of these counties has properties that meet the criteria for listing, which could include historic houses and residential neighborhoods, county courthouses, schools, city halls, religious buildings, downtown districts, and archeological sites.
The National Register program in Texas is driven by local initiative, and THC staff works with all applicants who wish to gain national recognition for the historic properties they value, as long as they meet at least one of the National Register criteria and retain a good degree of integrity.
“We invite residents and property owners in these 33 counties—along with every Texas county—to identify and nominate their local historic treasures,” said Terry Colley, the THC’s deputy executive director.
33 to Go
Residents and property owners in the following Texas counties—the only counties in the state without a National Register listing—are encouraged to identify and nominate their local historic treasures:
Bailey, Baylor, Borden, Castro, Childress, Cochran, Coleman, Crane, Crosby, Delta, Duval, Foard, Gaines, Hansford, Haskell, Jim Hogg, King, Lamb, McMullen, Moore, Parmer, Reeves, Scurry, Sherman, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Terry, Titus, Upton, Ward, Yoakum, and Zavala.
For nomination information, contact the THC’s Gregory Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.463.5853.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of The Medallion.
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