Texas Historical Commission

Last updated

Texas Historical Commission
Texas Historical Commission seal
Texas Historical Commission logo.jpg
Texas Historical Commission logo
Agency overview
Headquarters Austin, Texas
Website thc.texas.gov
Carrington-Covert House CarringtonCovertAustinTX.JPG
Carrington-Covert House
Luther Hall LutherHallAustinTX.JPG
Luther Hall
Gethsemane Lutheran Church Gethsemane lutheran church austin 2009.jpg
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Elrose Building ElroseBuildingAustinTX.JPG
Elrose Building
Christianson-Leberman Building CLB3.jpg
Christianson-Leberman Building

The Texas Historical Commission is an agency dedicated to historic preservation within the state of Texas. It administers the National Register of Historic Places for sites in Texas.


The commission also identifies Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks (RTHL) and recognizes them with Official Texas Historical Marker (OTHM) medallions and descriptive plaques. The commission identifies State Archeological Landmarks and Historic Texas Cemeteries. A quarterly publication, The Medallion, is published by the agency and includes news and advice about preservation projects, Texas’ historic sites, and heritage tourism opportunities. [1] The agency also maintains the online Texas Historic Sites Atlas featuring more than 300,000 site records, including data on Official Texas Historical Markers and National Register of Historic Places properties in Texas. [2]

The commission has main offices in the Capitol Complex in downtown Austin; the complex includes the Carrington-Covert House, Luther Hall, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Elrose Building, and the Christianson-Leberman Building.

History of the Commission

Established in 1953, the state legislature created the Texas State Historical Survey Committee to oversee state historical programs. [3] The legislature revised the agency’s enabling statute to give it additional protective powers, expand its leadership role and educational responsibilities, and officially changed its name to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). In 2007, the legislature transferred the management of 20 state historic sites from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the THC. [4]


Today, the agency employs about 200 personnel. The Texas Historical Commission leadership is composed of 18 members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, serving overlapping six-year terms. All members must be citizens of Texas, and together represent all geographical areas of Texas.

The commission also employs personnel in various fields, including archeology, architecture, economic development, heritage tourism, history, public administration and urban planning. These personnel consult with citizens and organizations to preserve Texas's architectural, archeological and cultural landmarks.

The agency includes the following divisions dedicated to overseeing the agency's programs: [5]

There are several boards associated with the Texas Historical Commission:

Texas Heritage Trails Program

Texas Historical Commission marker approved for the Lake Creek Settlement located in front of the N. H. Davis Museum and Pioneer Complex, 308 Liberty Street, Montgomery, Texas in the Texas Forest Trail region Lake Creek Settlement Marker.jpg
Texas Historical Commission marker approved for the Lake Creek Settlement located in front of the N. H. Davis Museum and Pioneer Complex, 308 Liberty Street, Montgomery, Texas in the Texas Forest Trail region

The Texas Historical Commission administers this statewide heritage tourism program. [6] This program is historically based in the ten scenic driving regions that Texas Department of Transportation and Gov. John Connally designated in 1968 in connection with the World's fair in San Antonio, Texas, called HemisFair '68. After the fair, these trails were all but forgotten. The Texas Historical Commission began its program based on these historical designations in 1998, starting with the Texas Forts Trail. [7] The goal of the program is to promote heritage tourism and historic preservation.

The THC divides Texas into 10 heritage regions:

In 2005 the Heritage Trails Program won the Preserve America Presidential Award for exemplary accomplishment in the preservation and sustainable use of America's heritage assets, which has enhanced community life while honoring the nation's history. [10]

State Historic Sites

San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site. San felipe de austin shs 2007.jpg
San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
Union Station -- Houston Union Station -- Houston.jpg
Union Station -- Houston

The Texas Historical Commission preserves and operates 31 state historic sites across Texas. These unique places honor the past and inspire an understanding of what it means to be a Texan. From American Indian sites to frontier forts to common and elegant homes and the leaders and statesmen who lived in them, these sites enrich people’s lives through history. [11]

Fort Griffin is home to the official State of Texas Longhorn Herd. [12]

Historical Markers

Texas Historical Commission marker located in Glenwood Cemetery (Houston, Texas) commemorating the many important contributions made by Republic of Texas President Anson Jones to the history of Texas. Anson Jones Texas Historical Commission Marker.JPG
Texas Historical Commission marker located in Glenwood Cemetery (Houston, Texas) commemorating the many important contributions made by Republic of Texas President Anson Jones to the history of Texas.

Sponsors may apply for official historical markers through their county historical commissions. The purpose of the markers, which are available in a variety of types (cemetery, building, subject) and sizes, is to educate the public. An application must meet certain requirements to be approved by the THC commissioners as qualifying for a marker.

Beginning in November 2006, the Texas Historical Commission adopted a new marker program. The following are some of the major changes to the program:

As of 2007, there are over 13,000 Official Texas Historical Markers placed throughout the state. Texas has the most prolific state historical marker program in the United States. [13]

One of the devotees of the expanded historical marker program was Rupert N. Richardson, the Texas historian who served as a THC member from 1953–1967 and was from 1943-1953 the president of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. [14]

The Historical Markers have been manufactured by The Southwell Company, located in San Antonio, Texas. In 1936 the company was awarded the contract to manufacture all of the bronze historical markers for the Texas Centennial. Since then thousands of cast aluminum historical markers have been provided for the State of Texas. In 1976, the company was selected to manufacture all of the historical markers for the Bicentennial.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark is the highest designation given by the Texas Historic Commission for significant structures in Texas.

State Antiquities Landmark

The THC may designate certain locations as State Antiquities Landmarks provided that they are not located on federal lands. These locations may fall into one of two categories:

Designation as a State Antiquities Landmark does not prohibit the destruction or modification of such a structure or location. Instead, the designation requires a permit for any modification subject to public review by the THC. [15]

Headquarters complex

The commission has main offices in the Austin Complex in downtown Austin; the complex includes the Carrington-Covert House at 1511 Colorado Street, Luther Hall, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Elrose Building, and the Christianson-Leberman Building. [16] [17]

The Carrington-Covert House was turned over to the commission to serve as the agency's headquarters in 1971. Gethsemane Lutheran Church was restored to serve as offices of the agency in 1970 and 1971. [18]

Friends of the Texas Historical Commission

Incorporated in 1996, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission (FTHC) is a 501c(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, further designated as a 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A0(vi) Public Charity, whose purpose is to develop private philanthropic resources to assist the Texas Historical Commission with its mission to identify, preserve, and protect our history—providing a lasting legacy for future generations. FTHC secures contributions to support the programs, projects, and activities of the Texas Historical Commission not provided for in the state budget. Despite its name, the Friends is not a membership organization. [19]

Over the past two decades, FTHC has helped secure more than $10 million to support THC projects and programs, including the 17th century La Belle shipwreck excavation in Matagorda Bay, the Fort St. Louis excavation, the Red River War Battle Sites Project, Texas in the Civil War and World War II Initiatives, the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program, restoration of the Fulton Mansion, restoration of 23 historic Texas flags, and more.

See also


  1. www.thc.texas.gov http://www.thc.texas.gov/medallion . Retrieved March 5, 2016.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. www.thc.state.tx.us http://www.thc.state.tx.us/preserve/texas-historic-sites-atlas . Retrieved March 5, 2016.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. "TSHA | Texas Historical Commission".
  4. www.thc.state.tx.us http://www.thc.state.tx.us/about-us/agency-timeline . Retrieved March 5, 2016.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. www.thc.state.tx.us http://www.thc.state.tx.us/about/our-divisions . Retrieved March 5, 2016.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Karimi, Sabah. "Heritage Tourism in Texas". USA Today. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  7. Bluthardt, Bob (21 September 2012). "Trail offers more than forts". San Angelo Standard-Times. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  8. "Brazos Trail Region to begin work as next Heritage Trail". Temple Daily Telegram. 5 September 2002. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  9. Reynolds, John (13 August 2003). "Texas Plains Trail designated state's newest heritage trail". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  10. Milhans, Bruce. "ACHP announces 2009 Preserve America Presidential Awards". Preserve America. preserveamerica.gov. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  11. www.thc.texas.gov https://www.thc.texas.gov/news-events/press-releases/eight-new-state-historic-sites-welcomed-texas-historical-commission . Retrieved November 30, 2019.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. "Official Texas Longhorn Herd of Texas| Fort Griffin State Historic Site | THC.Texas.Gov". www.thc.texas.gov.
  13. http://www.thc.state.tx.us/faqs/faqmad.html#why , Marker & Designation Frequently Asked Questions, Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved July 3, 2007.
  14. "Mark Odintz, "Rupert N. Richardson", The Handbook of Texas". tshaonline.org. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  15. Staff (July 8, 2016). "State Antiquities Landmarks". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  16. "Texas Historical Commission Austin Complex Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine ." Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved on March 6, 2009.
  17. "Contact Us." Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved on March 6, 2009.
  18. "A 10K Walk Through German-Texas Heritage in Austin, Texas." The University of Texas at Austin. 3/6. Retrieved on November 15, 2009.
  19. "Our History | THC Friends". www.thcfriends.org. Retrieved March 5, 2015.

Related Research Articles

National Historic Sites of Canada Heritage registers in Canada

National Historic Sites of Canada are places that have been designated by the federal Minister of the Environment on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), as being of national historic significance. Parks Canada, a federal agency, manages the National Historic Sites program. As of July 2021, there were 999 National Historic Sites, 172 of which are administered by Parks Canada; the remainder are administered or owned by other levels of government or private entities. The sites are located across all ten provinces and three territories, with two sites located in France.

Medina Dam United States historic place

The Medina Dam is a hollow-masonry type dam built in 1911 and 1912 by the Medina Irrigation Company in what became Mico, Texas, USA. Medina Lake extends north of it in northeastern Medina County and southeastern Bandera County. The dam and irrigation project was designed and financed by Dr. Frederick Stark Pearson, an American engineer, with extensive British financial backing. The construction took over 1500 men two years to build while working 24 hours a day. They were mostly skilled Mexican workers with experience building other dams for Pearson. They received two dollars for a day's work, which were good wages for the time. Pearson's Medina Irrigation Company (MICO) built a camp to house the workers and their families; the company town was first called MICO after its acronym. The community is now known as Mico, Texas.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) is the governmental agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania responsible for the collection, conservation and interpretation of Pennsylvania's historic heritage. The commission cares for historical manuscripts, public records, and objects of historic interest; museums; archeology; publications; historic sites and properties; historic preservation; geographic names; and the promotion of public interest in Pennsylvania history.

New Echota United States historic place

New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation in the Southeast United States from 1825 to their forced removal in the late 1830s. New Echota is located in present-day Gordon County, in northwest Georgia, 3.68 miles north of Calhoun. It is south of Resaca, next to present day New Town, known to the Cherokee as Ustanali. The site has been preserved as a state park and a historic site. It was designated in 1973 as a National Historic Landmark District.

State Highway 1 was a state highway in the U.S. state of Texas. The highway traveled from Texarkana on the eastern border to El Paso on the western border, via Dallas and Fort Worth, Abilene, and Midland–Odessa. SH 1 was approximately 842 miles (1,355 km) long, and was one of the original 25 Texas state highways, which were designated on June 21, 1917. In 1920, the entire length of the highway was designated as part of the Bankhead Highway, a transcontinental Auto trail. In the Texas Department of Transportation's 1939 state highway renumbering, most of SH 1 was redesignated as U.S. Route 80, as well as U.S. Route 67, and others. Most of these highways were replaced by Interstate 10, Interstate 20, and Interstate 30. The only portion of SH 1 that existed after September 26, 1939, was a short spur located in Dallas. Texas State Highway 1 was officially cancelled on August 20, 1952. Due to the highway's historic value, a highway can not be designated as Texas State Highway 1 unless by the order of TxDOT Executive Director or by the Transportation Commission.

This is a list of properties and historic districts in Tennessee that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are over 2,000 in total. Of these, 29 are National Historic Landmarks. Each of Tennessee's 95 counties has at least one listing.

Carrington–Covert House Historic house in Texas, United States

The Carrington–Covert House is a historic building in downtown Austin, Texas that serves as headquarters of the Texas Historical Commission. Built between 1855 and 1857, it is one of the few surviving pre-Civil War structures in the city.

Texas State Highway 118

State Highway 118 is a 155.3-mile (249.9 km) state highway in the U.S. state of Texas that runs from Big Bend National Park north to Kent and passes through the towns of Study Butte, Alpine, and Fort Davis. SH 118 is maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The road lies entirely within the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. SH 118 is a two-lane road along its length except for a section in Alpine where the route follows the path of U.S. Route 67 and U.S. Route 90. All of the route except for the 2.8-mile (4.5 km) section between Big Bend National Park and Farm to Market Road 170 is included in the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Mountain Trail.

Fort Griffin United States historic place

Fort Griffin, now a Texas state historic site as Fort Griffin State Historic Site, was a US Cavalry fort established 31 July 1867 by four companies of the Sixth Cavalry, U.S. Army under the command of Lt. Col. S. D. Sturgis, in the northern part of West Texas, specifically northwestern Shackelford County, to give settlers protection from early Comanche and Kiowa raids. Originally called Camp Wilson after Henry Hamilton Wilson, a recently deceased lieutenant and son of Radical Republican senator and later vice president, Henry Wilson, it was later named for Charles Griffin, a former Civil War Union general who had commanded, as de facto military governor, the Department of Texas during the early years of Reconstruction.

Fort McKavett State Historic Site United States historic place

The Fort McKavett State Historic Site is a former United States Army installation located in Menard County, Texas. The fort was first established in 1852 as part of a line of forts in Texas intended to protect migrants traveling to California. The fort was deemed unnecessary and abandoned in 1859 and was occupied by settlers. From 1861 to 1863, during the American Civil War, the fort became an outpost of Confederate forces on the Texas frontier until they left for other theaters of the war. When the US Army returned to Texas in the later 1860s, the fort was reoccupied and rebuilt, and became a base for the "Buffalo Soldier", or all-African American, 24th Infantry and 9th Cavalry Regiments.

Alabama Historical Commission

The Alabama Historical Commission is the historic preservation agency for the U.S. state of Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission of safeguarding Alabama’s historic buildings and sites. It consists of twenty members appointed by the state governor or who serve in an official position. The members represent a broad cross section of Alabamians including architects, historians, archaeologists, and representatives of state universities. The commission is tasked with acquisition and preservation of historic properties and education of the public about historic sites in Alabama.

Fort Graham Archeological & Park Site in Texas, United States

Fort Graham was a pioneer fort established in 1849 by Brevet Major R.A. Arnold at the site of Jose Maria Village, an Anadaca camp on the western edge of present-day Hill County, Texas. It remained in service until 1853, when settlements had moved further west. It was named after Col. William M. Graham, who died at the Battle of Molina del Rey.

The Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) is the State Historic Preservation Office for the U.S. state of Tennessee. Headquartered in Nashville, it is an independent state agency, administratively attached to the Department of Environment and Conservation. Its mission is to protect, preserve, interpret, maintain, and administer historic places; to encourage the inclusive diverse study of Tennessee's history for the benefit of future generations; to mark important locations, persons, and events in Tennessee history; to assist in worthy publication projects; to review, comment on and identify projects that will potentially impact historic properties; to locate, identify, record, and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places all properties which meet National Register criteria, and to implement other programs of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended. The Tennessee Historical Commission also refers to the entity consisting of 24 Governor-appointed members and five ex officio members.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) is a designation awarded by the Texas Historical Commission for historically and architecturally significant properties in the U.S. state of Texas. RTHL is a legal designation and the highest honor the state can bestow on a historic structure. Purchase and display of a historical marker is a required component of the RTHL designation process. Because it is a legal designation, owners of RTHL-designated structures must give 60 days' notice before any alterations are made to the exterior of the structure. Changes that are unsympathetic may result in removal of the designation and historical marker. More than 3,600 RTHL structures are spread throughout the state.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church Historic structure in Austin, Texas

Gethsemane Lutheran Church is a historic Lutheran church in downtown Austin, Texas. Designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building currently holds offices of the Texas Historical Commission.

The Texas Forest Trail is a non-profit organization which promotes heritage tourism, economic development, and historic preservation. The organization is one of ten driving trail regions which make up the award-winning Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission.

The Womans Club of Fort Worth United States historic place

The Woman's Club of Fort Worth is one of the city's oldest membership organizations, formed in 1923 by the members of several existing woman's clubs. The Woman's Club complex comprises eight historic buildings on Fort Worth's Near Southside and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. As with many woman's clubs in the United States, the Woman's Club of Fort Worth has its roots in the Progressive Movement, with its original mission of "the cultural and civic advancement of Fort Worth; and the study of literature, history, science, painting, music, and other fine arts."