AUSTIN, Texas –– The Texas Historical Commission (THC) announced Round VI grant recipients of its nationally recognized Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program at its quarterly meeting on Jan. 29 in Austin. Commissioners awarded matching grants totaling more than $20 million to 20 Texas counties to help preserve their historic courthouses.
The counties to receive funds in Round VI of the program are: Comal, Colorado, Edwards, Franklin, Fort Bend, Old Glasscock, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hopkins, Houston, Karnes, La Salle, Lee, Marion, Mason, Medina, Navarro, Stephens, Throckmorton and Upshur.
The awards include three full construction projects (La Salle, Hamilton and Comal); three exterior construction projects (Colorado, Franklin and Hardeman); and four emergency construction projects (Hopkins, Karnes, Lee and Old Glasscock). The remaining 10 grants are for planning projects.
A total of 44 grant applications requesting more than $173 million were submitted in Round VI. Applicant requests were larger than in previous rounds due to inflation and higher funding caps. Pending additional funding from the Texas Legislature, the THC anticipates continuing the program with additional rounds of grant opportunities.
"The goal of this program is to assist as many counties as possible," said THC Architecture Division Director Stan Graves. "Our historic county courthouses are often the heart of communities throughout our state and the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program strives to preserve these temples of justice and remains dedicated to these important architectural landmarks."
In 1998, Texas’ courthouses appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. As a result, the Texas Legislature established the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program and appropriated funding to preserve and protect them.
In the previous five rounds of the program, the State of Texas has allocated $207 million and counties have provided local matches of more than $130 million to fully restore more than 40 of the state’s historic county courthouses. The results of the highly successful partnership have been the creation of more than 7,750 jobs and more than $17 million generated in local taxes.
The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program’s accomplishments have garnered national and international attention, with honors from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Association for Preservation Technology and the Texas Society of Architects. In 2008, the program was recognized with a Presidential Award from the White House. The innovative program has also partnered with the Texas Land Title Association for the past three years to offer a series of stewardship workshops that provide training to ensure the restored structures are maintained, preserved and do not fall back into disrepair.
"With strong support from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Land Title Association we remain committed to restoring all of the historic county courthouses, while also ensuring they do not become vulnerable again," said THC Executive Director Mark Wolfe. "These structures are symbols of pride and democracy and need to be nurtured to guarantee they continue to safeguard the real stories of Texas for future generations."
Many of the state’s more than 230 historic courthouses are in disrepair due to insufficient funding for building care and maintenance. The estimated remaining monetary need to restore the 124 courthouses that have submitted approved master plans is approximately $214 million in state funds.
Specific grant awards can be found on the THC web site at www.thc.state.tx.us. For more information contact the THC Architecture Division at 512.463.6094.
The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program was established in 1999 by Gov. George W. Bush and the Texas Legislature to restore Texas’ county courthouses to their original splendor and make them safe, functional and a source of pride for Texas communities. The Texas Historical Commission created and administers the $207 million program.
Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program Round VI Grant Recipients
1 La Salle $3,500,000 FC
2 Franklin $2,125,000 Ext
3 Hardeman $1,955,000 Ext
4 Hamilton $3,186,070 FC
5 Lee $804,233 EC
6 Karnes $617,886 EC
7 Comal $3,438,000 FC
8 Colorado $1,782,251 Ext
9 Throckmorton $183,829 P
10 Fort Bend $271,047 P
11 Navarro $394,741 P
12 Edwards $99,333 P
13 Marion $318,260 P
14 Mason $307,791 P
15 Medina $371,928 P
16 Stephens $450,000 P
17 Hopkins $277,681 EC
18 Houston $238,300 P
19 Upshur $285,333 P
20 Old Glasscock $72,646 EC
3 FC = full construction
3 Ext = exterior construction
4 EC = emergency construction
10 P = planning