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How to apply for a Texas historical marker

The Texas marker program is one of the most visible programs of the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Markers commemorate many topics in Texas history including the architecture of houses, commercial and public buildings, religious congregations, military sites and individuals who have made lasting contributions to the state, community organizations and businesses.

Ellen Timberlake-Volz, Tarrant County Historical Commission marker chair, spoke at the Fairmount General Meeting on Oct. 25 regarding applications for Texas historical markers. The most recent Texas historical marker dedication in Fairmount was held in May to honor the Grammer-Pierce house at 2232 College Ave. Fairmount currently has three houses listed as Registered Texas Historic Landmarks (RTHL) within its boundaries: Grammer-Pierce House (RTHL 2015), Gunhild-Weber House (RTHL 1978) and Benton House (RHTL 1971).

“There are 15,000 historical markers throughout Texas,” Ellen said. “Many of those are Registered Historic Landmarks. That is the highest honor that the state bestows on historic properties for architectural and historical significance.” The RTHL is the type of marker Fairmount residents would want to apply for to place on their house.

The marker process takes about a year to complete. Applications are submitted to the county marker chair who then reviews it and makes sure it is complete before passing it on to the state. “There are 254 counties in the state of Texas. I have about 15 active markers right now and 10 are from 2016, and five more that are in progress at the foundry or at various levels in the process,” Ellen said.

A $100 application fee is require to submit a marker application to the state, and once it is approved the applicant is then responsible for the cost of the marker in addition to the application fee. Although markers are paid for by individuals, they remain the property of the state. You can see available marker types and prices on the THC website at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/publications/Marker%20Types%20-%202013.pdf

The THC accepts applications for historical markers each fall for the following calendar year. The current application period ends Nov. 15, 2016 for 2017 markers. All marker applications must be submitted and approved by the county historical commission chair or marker chair. Applications and more information on the application process can be found on the THC website at http://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/state-historical-markers/apply-historical-marker

For more information or to apply for a marker, if you live in Tarrant County, please contact Ellen Timberlake-Volz at timberlake-volz@sbcglobal.net

 

 

Types of Texas historical markers available:

  • RTHL – Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – are properties judged to be historically and architecturally significant. The THC awards RTHL designation to buildings at least 50 years old that are judged worthy of preservation for their architectural and historical associations.
  • HTC – Historic Texas Cemetery Markers – are only for burial grounds previously awarded a HTC designation. These markers recognize the historical significance of a cemetery and, with the use of interpretive plaques, provide background on associated communities, families, events, and customs. HTC markers must be placed at the cemetery, but since cemeteries are protected under other existing laws, they convey no restrictions on the property.
  • Subject Markers – are solely educational, and reveal aspects of local history that are important to a community or region. These markers honor topics such as church congregations, schools, communities, businesses, events, and individuals. A subject marker is placed at a site that has a historical association with the topic, but no restriction is placed on the use of the property or site. No legal designation is required for a subject marker.
  • 1936 Centennial Markers – were placed in nearly every Texas county in 1936 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Texas’ independence from Mexico. The State of Texas placed about 1,100 exposition buildings, memorial museums, statues, and granite and bronze markers and monuments around the state. The THC, created in 1953, monitors the 1936 Centennial markers and coordinates their repair or relocation when necessary.
  • Undertold Marker Program – Beginning in 2006, the THC began collecting a state-mandated $100 marker application fee “to establish an account to offer funding incentives for special or priority markers.” Funds are intended to address historical gaps, promote diversity of topics, and proactively document significant underrepresented subjects or untold stories. The THC accepts nominations for undertold marker funding through the Marker Application Fund from May 1 through June 15 each year. Learn more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/undertold

 

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) submission requirements:

RTHL marker applications are used for buildings and structures only that carry historical and architectural significance

  • 5 page narrative history with documentation
  • Property owner consent and proof
  • At least one historic photo
  • Current photos of all elevations (N, S, E W)
  • Site plan and floor plan of the property (can be hand drawn)

Want to see a sample narrative? Download a copy of the narrative for the Grammer-Pierce house in Fairmount.

 

Recommended resources:

**** See additional information and links on the Fairmount website under Resources. ****

Marker research guide for houses and buildings (from the THC)

How to apply for a historical marker (THC)

 

Watch the Grammer-Pierce House marker dedication in Fairmount: