Seven Ways Historic Preservation Makes a Big Economic Impact in Texas

A recent University of Texas and Rutgers University economic impact study (PDF) revealed some surprising facts about the significant benefits of historic preservation efforts in the Lone Star State.

The study contained seven key conclusions:


  1. Tourists love historic districts and preserved or restored sites. More than 10 percent of Texas travel is heritage related, with $2.26 billion in annual visitor spending related to history-based tourism.
  2. Historic preservation supports tens of thousands of Texas jobs. Heritage tourism supports 54,000 jobs in Texas; historic preservation supports 79,000 jobs (2013 numbers).
  3. Historic building rehabilitation rebuilds communities. Private and public institutions in Texas invest a total of $772 million in historic preservation projects, making a significant economic impact in communities across Texas.
  4. Historic county courthouses make great economic sense. Since 2000, $251 million in grants across 91 counties through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program has created 9,600 jobs and added $651 million in state gross domestic product. It has also revitalized downtown areas in large and small communities.
  5. Texas Main Street communities make good business sense. Since 1981, participating cities in the Texas Main Street program have made an average annual contribution of $310 million to state GDP. Cumulative reinvestment in Main Street areas has totaled more than $5.2 billion since 1981. Currently, 89 cities participate in the program.
  6. Historic properties attract significant reinvestment. Every dollar from federal and state incentive programs triggers $4–$5 of private sector investment, spurring $1.78 billion in private-sector rehabilitations, and creating 35,000 in-state jobs and more than $2.4 billion in Texas GDP.
  7. 700 Texas history museums bring economic vitality to communities. Museum organizations in Texas spend $93 million annually, not including capital expenditures, and each attracts thousands of visitors every year.

For more, read the full economic impact report (PDF) and corresponding technical analysis (PDF). The Texas Historical Commission leads official state efforts to encourage and incentivize historic preservation projects and heritage tourism. For more information visit