Texas has more historic courthouses that any other state. Today more than 235 courthouses still stand that are least 50 years old. About 80 were built before the turn of the 20th century. By the end of that century, most of these structures were significantly deteriorated due to inadequate maintenance, insensitive modifications or weather related damage. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) documented the condition of 50 of the state’s oldest courthouses in the late 1990s and determined that counties lacked the resources to preserve the buildings for future generations.
Providing assistance to counties reached a critical point when Texas county courthouses were added to the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Properties list in 1998. The state’s response was to create the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, the largest preservation grant program ever initiated by a state government. This nationally recognized preservation program has turned around the trend of disrepair and begun the process of restoring the state’s most treasured historic landmarks.
In support of the projects completed with state grant funds, the THC also created the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program. It provides education and training to county staff for future preservation needs.
Income generated through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program
Courthouses in Danger
Unrestored courthouses face a number of urgent problems. In a series of articles, the Texas Association of Counties' County magazine focuses on the challenges confronted by counties with historic courthouses and how the THCPP is helping to preserve these historic treasures.
Capitol Exhibit to Feature Historic Courthouses
Visit the Texas Capitol in early 2015 to see the THC's Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation exhibit and explore the history of our Texas courthouses as well as the impact that the THCPP has made by preserving these significant public buildings.