Historical Markers

The Texas Historical Commission is making some changes in procedures people have to follow to apply for a state historical marker, and in the criteria the agency uses to decide whether to grant a marker. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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Historical markers have been part of the state's landscape for almost 50 years. The Texas Historical Commission has put more than 12 thousand markers out, and people are applying to the commission for more markers all the time. Spokeswoman Debbie Head says that's why the agency is getting local County Historical Commissions more involved in the process.

,em>"Counties are closely and more directly working with people, area residents, know the area history. We're one agency of a hundred people located here in Austin, but we have 254 County Historical Commissions."

Head says local Historical Commissions know their history better than any state agency can, and can do a better job of screening historical marker applications that will go to the State Historical Commission for final approval. The commission has also made minor adjustments in the criteria for historical marker designation. Head says the agency insists that a site have true historical significance -- either statewide or local.

"It has to have not only the age designation, which is something more than 50 years old, but it has to be historically significant, in that a historical event or individual either happened or lived at the site, or was associated with it somehow, or architecturally significant."

This year's application period for historical markers begins on the 15th of this month and ends January 2nd. Head says people who want to apply should contact their local County Historical Commission. There's a link to the State Historical Commission's new guidelines on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.