Properties with a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) designation receive some legal protection from inappropriate additions or alterations. Property owners are required to notify the THC in advance of altering the exterior of a building or structure designated as an RTHL.
According to the provisions of Texas Government Code, Chapter 442, Section 442.006(f), the exterior appearance of RTHL buildings and structures should retain their historical integrity after designation. A person may not change the historical or architectural integrity of a building or structure the commission has designated as a RTHL without notifying the commission in writing at least 60 days before the date on which the action causing the change is to begin. The THC has review authority on the exterior of the building or structure. Under the RTHL regulations the THC has no review authority over most interior changes unless the proposed changes have the potential to affect the exterior of the building or structure. Unsympathetic alterations to RTHL properties may result in the removal of the designation and marker. Rules governing RTHL review can be found in Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Chapter 21, Rule 21.11.
Even though the RTHL legislation gives the THC 60 days to review the proposed work, all reviews take place no greater than 30 days from the date the THC receives the project documentation. The THC reviews proposed changes to RTHL buildings and structures by applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
The one-page handout Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks: Review of Proposed Changes further describes this review process. For more information, please contact your county's Division of Architecture project reviewer.
How to Submit an RTHL Review
If you do not have access to email or have difficulty submitting via email, please reach out to your project reviewer for assistance.
Faxes are not accepted
Example of an RTHL Review
Located in Round Rock, the Old Broom Factory Building was built in 1876 and originally housed a general mercantile and furniture store. The building housed the Round Rock Broom Company from circa 1887 to 1912, and a broom made in this building won a gold medal at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. After the broom factory departed the building housed a variety of other uses, such as a school, skating rink, and automobile repair shop. The limestone building with distinctive stepped front parapet and keystone arch door and window openings was restored in 1969 and designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1970.
A new owner purchased the building in 2010 and initially submitted a proposal to the THC to replace all of the deteriorated wood windows in the building with new window units. The THC and Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Round Rock reviewed the owner’s proposal and determined that the windows appeared to be historic wood double-hung windows. The THC recommended to the owner that the windows should be repaired instead of being replaced and provided technical guidance to modify the project to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
The owner located a local contractor who evaluated the condition of the existing historic wood windows and changed the project scope of work to repair and not replace the historic windows. The contractor finished repairing and repainting the windows in 2011, extending the life of the over-100-year-old windows and saving them from a landfill.
Technical Assistance and Guidance
In addition to reviewing project proposals, the review staff in the THC Division of Architecture is available to provide technical assistance and guidance to the owners of RTHL properties. The staff is able to recommend ways to help preserve historic properties for future generations, such as helping to assess the physical deterioration of a building or structure, helping guide rehabilitation or restoration efforts, and suggesting funding tools. Please note that our services are advisory in nature and are not intended or able to substitute for services provided by licensed design professionals such as architects and engineers. For more information please contact your county's Division of Architecture project reviewer.