Palestine New Town Commercial Historic District added to National Register

The Palestine New Town Commercial Historic District in Anderson County was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) assisted in the nomination of this property in recognition of its importance to the history of Palestine and the State of Texas. Noted for its historical and architectural significance, the district joins other properties around the state with National Register status. 

Developed between 1872 and 1971, the district contains the largest, most diverse, and best preserved concentration of late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century commercial buildings in Palestine. Palestine’s agricultural, manufacturing, railroad and petroleum based economy created and sustained the rail-oriented commercial district, which occupies more than ten blocks north of the railroad.  

The most intensive development in the district occurred between 1890 and 1940. One-story and two-story brick commercial buildings dominate and feature a mix of architectural styles and plans. The vast majority of district buildings are long, narrow, commercial buildings built by local craftsmen for local businessmen and investors, but some were designed by unidentified local or regional architects.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation, including nearly 3,4000 listings throughout Texas. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a federal program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect the country’s historic and archeological resources.   

The National Register includes nearly 3,400 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from the possible impact of federally funded projects, as well as access to technical expertise and grant funds to facilitate their restoration and preservation. Income-producing properties are also eligible for federal tax benefits for sympathetic rehabilitation work. 

 To learn more about the National Register of Historic Places, contact the THC’s History Programs Division at 512-463-5853 or visit