County Historical Commissions (CHCs) are directed by Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 318, to prepare a plan for the preservation of county historic and cultural resources using the Texas Statewide Historic Preservation Plan as guidance. The 2022-2032 plan was published with significant input from CHCs and other stakeholders. The six preservation goals of the plan are outlined below with special attention to objectives that identify CHCs as key partners. See the complete planning document for suggestions on how to implement these directives into your own program of work.

Preservation Plan Goals

Goal 1: Engage and inform stakeholders and decision-makers through effective dialogue, education, outreach efforts, and new partnerships that promote historic preservation in Texas communities.

CHCs are identified as key partners of the following objectives:

  • Seeking new partnerships with government agencies, nonprofits, neighborhood leaders, and nontraditional entities as stakeholders in local preservation efforts. (Objective 1.2)
  • Organizing ongoing outreach and communications programs that inform decision-makers and stakeholders about the impact of local preservation activities on community livability. (Objective 1.3)
  • Enhancing the use of current and emerging design and digital communication technologies for engaging new audiences. (Objective 1.4)
  • Exploring effective engagement methods in garnering new advocates and forging new partnerships in diverse communities that build a new preservation constituency and offer opportunities for understanding local histories and other aspects of community heritage. (Objective 1.5)

Example: Menard CHC partnered with Dr. Tamra L. Walter of Texas Tech University, Angelo State University, the Texas Center at Schreiner University, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo, Menard’s Sister City of Cortegana, Spain, and the Texas Forts Trail Region, to host Spanish Colonial Heritage Day. The event brought to life the Spanish Colonial experience to educate the public about the Presidio de San Saba. Partnerships were key to the event’s success, which will be held annually.

Goal 2: Promote the identification and designation of both tangible and intangible historic and cultural resources that represent Texas’ rich and diverse heritage.

CHCs are identified as key partners of the following objectives:

  • Undertaking survey and documentation efforts for historic and cultural resources related to underrepresented communities, intangible heritage, overlooked places, and those coming of age. (Objective 2.3)
  • Conducting survey and documentation initiatives as part of local planning and community development efforts. (Objective 2.4)
  • Encouraging the use of GIS and other digital technologies that make historic resource data and information accessible and useful for a variety of planning and preservation needs. (Objective 2.5)

Example: Hays CHC appointees successfully advocated for the preservation of the Naomi Cephas Wade House using information collected in a historic resources survey of the Dunbar Historic District. The home, located in a predominately African American neighborhood, was scheduled for demolition. CHC appointees collaborated with the Dunbar Heritage Association and the Calaboose African American History Museum to halt the demolition and consider alternative uses for the property. Historic resources surveys identify historically and culturally significant properties and can be helpful to planning departments and neighborhood organizations.

Goal 3: Promote historic preservation as a flexible tool that is well integrated and supported with local planning and development practices with an aim to strengthen and sustaining communities as resilient places.

Example: El Paso CHC partnered with PlaceEconomics to host a virtual webinar titled “24 Reasons Historic Preservation is Good for Your Community.” The webinar’s goal was to identify and promote the economic, social, and cultural benefits of historic preservation. In their efforts to support the Downtown El Paso Historic District, appointees invited business owners, preservation-focused partners, educators, students, and the public to attend.

Goal 4: Bolster and enhance Texas’ disaster resilience planning efforts to provide solid foundations for preparedness, recovery, and adaptation that protect and preserve the state’s historic and cultural resources.

Examples: The Cemetery Preservation Program hosted a six-part Cemetery Disaster Training series for CHCs and cemetery stewards. The series provides the knowledge and skills necessary to assess risks, prevent or minimize disaster-related damages, prioritize and carry-out post-disaster stabilization and response work, and to generally build greater resiliency to withstand and recover from disasters. All six webinars are available online.   

Goal 5: Enhance the capacities of preservation partners and organizations to advance preservation practice and promote the next generation of preservation leaders in Texas.

CHCs are identified as key partners of the following objectives:

  • Facilitating capacity building and best practices for local preservation partners and organizations. (Objective 5.3)
  • Promote youth summits with CHCs and other preservation partners that provide interactive learning and hands-on learning experiences for both students and educators in building preservation, historic sites, archeology, and heritage tourism. (Implementation action)
  • Explore the creation of youth councils or advisory boards for CHCs, historic preservation commissions, historic sites, and other preservation entities to assist and participate in local preservation initiatives. (Implementation action)

Example: Cass CHC partnered with Collins Academy to host a seven-week summer camp for twelve high school students. The summer camp was funded by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department CO-OP Grant. Students worked to install and rehabilitate native plant gardens and produced short films about Cass and Marion County history. Cass CHC appointees assisted with student recruitment, provided summaries of each historical site, and helped students produce their short films.

Goal 6: Support initiatives and expand efforts that document and preserve the heritage of Texas’ diverse communities.

Example: Fannin CHC celebrated Women’s History Month with a series of posts honoring notable women in Fannin County on their Facebook page, the Fannin County Historical Group. Each post included a brief biography, and photographs of musicians, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, writers, benefactors, and lawyers. Articles recognizing the contributions of women’s organizations, including missionary societies and home demonstration clubs were also shared. Appointees contributed to the effort by researching, organizing, writing biographies, and collecting photographs.