What does the Travis County Historical Commission do?

We initiate and conduct programs for the preservation of the county's heritage and its influence on Travis County's political, governmental, and cultural history. Perhaps the best-known of the work of the Historical Commission is the coordination of research and placement of state historical markers throughout the county.

How does the Commission link to the Texas Historical Commission?

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is the state agency for historic preservation. THC staff consults with citizens and organizations to preserve Texas' architectural, archeological and cultural landmarks. The agency is recognized nationally for its preservation programs.” The THC oversees historical preservation in all 254 counties in the state by coordinating the work of County Historical Commissions. These county commissions are composed of volunteer members appointed by the county judge in each county. Travis County Historical Commission currently consists of 19 appointed members who serve two-year terms.

When can I apply for a historic marker for my property?

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) accepts applications for markers between September 1 and November 15 each year. Current year requirements are posted on the THC web site in late summer. All applications must be processed through, and approved by, the Travis County Historical Commission before they are sent to THC. (see next question)

What are the first steps?

As early as possible, research your proposed marker topic and create the historical narrative and documentation. Then, check with the Travis County Historical Commission chair or marker chair as to the time frame required for their review of the application. (Suggestion: don’t wait until September!) Also, make sure to acquaint yourself with the THC website (see above), which features marker policies and procedures, the actual application, as well as tutorials and research guidelines.

What is the difference between a city, county, state marker?

City markers are awarded by the Historic Landmark Commission. The city marker awarded to an historic property identifies it as one of the significant sites within the City of Austin and includes it on an updated inventory kept by the City’s historic preservation officer. A city Landmark Commission marker carries with it tax benefits for the property owner, and thus the city has review over the condition of the property. The State of Texas markers, approved by the Texas Historical Commission, identify significant places, people and events that have been important in Travis and in Austin history. These are documentary markers only and are the property of the State of Texas. They have no monetary or legal impact on the properties that they commemorate.

What do I do about a vandalized or missing marker?

First, contact local law enforcement. Then, if you want to replace the marker, follow the normal procedures for ordering, which includes funds for the replacement marker. Some vandalized markers may be repairable

How do I get a marker refurbished?

The Travis County Historical Commission has an on-going project to refurbish faded and worn markers in the County. If you know of a marker that needs attention, contact us at the email address listed.

How can I get a list of markers in Travis County?

We are planning to include an updated list of state historical markers on this web page beginning in 2011. Check later for additional information.

How can cemeteries obtain historical designation?

The cemetery must be at least 50 years old. The first step involves completion of the Historic Texas Cemetery application and attachments, which include a narrative history, black and white photographs, and information from which to create a map of its boundaries and location. After this application is approved, then a cemetery owner may opt to apply for a Texas historical marker for the site. Go to Preserving Historic Cemeteries for more information on preserving historic cemeteries.

What is a CLG?

The Certified Local Government Program is a preservation partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the grass roots level. Some of the advantages of CLG membership are access to CLG funds as well as access to the National Park Service. Since Travis County has been designated a Certified Local Government (CLG) by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Park Service, the TCHC is responsible for carrying out the duties of a CLG. A special CLG Committee, consisting of Commission members and selected members of the Travis County community with special historic preservation expertise, coordinate the CLG programs for the Travis County Historical Commission.