Texas Historical Commission Announces Preservation Grant Recipients

At its quarterly meeting in Austin yesterday, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) awarded grant funding to six projects from its Texas Preservation Trust Fund (TPTF). The six preservation projects were selected from 21 proposal applicants to be recipients of the Fiscal Year 2018 Emergency Grant Program, the first TPTF grant cycle to solely allocate funds to places affected by a natural disaster. 

The six projects selected for TPTF grants—one archeological resource and five historic properties— are located in the state-declared disaster area that sustained damage from one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history, Hurricane Harvey.  

The Heritage Society in Houston houses three archeological collections that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey, one with artifacts from the Civil War era and the remaining two spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. Several of these artifacts date to at least 1847, and possibly to the establishment of Houston in 1836. The TPTF emergency grant will cover the cost to organize and safely store these important artifacts.

The 1953 mural by artist John Biggers, Contribution of Negro Women to American Life and Education, is housed in the Blue Triangle Community Center—a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. As a result of unprecedented water infiltration from Hurricane Harvey, Biggers’ Mural is now covered in hundreds of black mold sprouts and is at risk of losing many areas of the original painting if extraordinary conservation efforts aren't pursued. The TPTF grant will help the YWCA fund a planning project, engage professionals, and move forward with the mural's restoration.  

Built in 1847, the Mary Christian Burleson Homestead sustained significant roof damage when winds from Hurricane Harvey blew through Elgin. The emergency grant will help the Homestead repair the roof damage—which made the entire structure unstable—and eventually move forward with restoration efforts that were underway prior to Harvey.  

The Recreation Hall at Goose Island State Park, constructed in 1935, is one of the first Civilian Conservation Corps buildings in Texas. When Hurricane Harvey passed through Rockport, the cedar shingle porch roof was completely blown off. The funding will assist the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with its repair efforts and make the park eligible for the National Register once again.

The Lee County Courthouse was fully restored through the THC's Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program in the first round of grants beginning 20 years ago. During Hurricane Harvey, the courthouse experienced water infiltration through the roof, walls, and windows, creating an urgent need for remediation. An emergency grant from the THC will help to meet unmet needs to return the courthouse to its previously restored state.  

The Refugio County Courthouse, which suffered direct damage from Hurricane Harvey with more than 30 destroyed windows, received an emergency TPTF grant. The grant will fund a feasibility study for the county to determine the best course of action for repair and restoration of the historic courthouse.  

Created by the Texas Legislature in 1989, the TPTF is an interest-earning pool of public and private monies. The THC awards grants for preservation projects from the TPTF on a yearly basis. The fund is currently managed by the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company and investment earnings are distributed as grants to qualified applicants. For more information contact the THC’s Architecture Division at 512-463-6094 or visit thc.texas.gov/tptf.