Books on library shelf inside the Gethsemane Church

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) Library holdings are divided into five main areas: museum studies, archeology, state and local history, historic preservation, and architecture. Two of the library's most significant resources include the agency's historical marker files, which number over 17,000, and a file collection of the state's more than 3,400 National Register sites. Notable library resources include:

  • Survey reports of archeological and cultural resources
  • Maps from the 1936 county survey
  • Slides and photos of state historic sites and buildings
  • City and county histories
  • A general reference section
  • A collection of archeology and history periodicals

Other helpful resources include the Austin History Center, Briscoe Center for American History, The Handbook of Texas, and the Texas State Library and Archives.

History of the Gethsemane Lutheran Church Building

Gethsemane Church 1950

The historic brick church shares a unique kinship with the Texas Capitol. Much of the handmade brick, limestone, and timber of the Gethsemane Lutheran Church was salvaged by congregation members in 1882 from a pile of rubble at the head of Congress Avenue.

After completing most of the work themselves, congregation members held their first service in the new sanctuary in 1883. The last service in the church took place in 1961, and soon after, the State of Texas purchased the property to expand the Capitol office complex. The historic structure was originally slated for demolition but was saved after an outcry from local preservationists and congregation members. In 1969, the state legislature deeded the church to the THC.

The library is located at 1510 N. Congress Ave. in downtown Austin on the corner of W. 16th St. and N. Congress Ave., one block north of the State Capitol.

The THC Library is Available by Appointment Only

To make arrangements for a visit or for copies of library files, contact the appropriate division below.

History Programs, 512-463-5853

  • National Register of Historic Places files
  • Historical marker files
  • Oral histories
  • City and/or county histories

Archeology Division, 512-463-6096

  • Archeological sites and related information

For all other inquiries or to make donations, contact 512-463-6100.