West Denton District Added to National Register

The West Denton Residential Historic District in Denton 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 Denton and the State of Texas.

The district was listed in the National Register for its association with suburban residential development and as an intact grouping of popular housing styles in Denton. Noted for its historical and architectural significance, the district joins other properties around the state with National Register status.

The West Denton Residential Historic District features an eclectic mix of historic homes. The earliest houses date to the city’s population expansion after railroad service arrived in 1881, and the neighborhood grew dramatically after a group of business and civic leaders created a city development strategy based on higher education. The North Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute (now University of North Texas, just southwest of the district) became a state public college in 1901, and in that year the private John B. Denton College was established within the district boundary to support college degrees beyond teaching certifications.

In 1905, the second state public college, the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Women’s University) was established on the city’s east side. With new utilities, public transportation, and proximity to downtown and new colleges, the area within the district became a desired location for new residences. Initial growth was along Oak and Hickory streets in the district’s south end, with many large-scale houses, but through the early 20th century the neighborhood developed northward with the filing of several residential plats, with lots sized for more modest Craftsman and period revival houses.

The neighborhood expansion peaked in the 1920s. A few buildings were architect-designed, but the majority were the result of collaboration between owners and builders, often working from plan books. While some houses have been altered over time, most retain a good level of historical integrity.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation. 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 more than 3,300 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 thc.texas.gov.