Texas courthouses are among the most widely recognized, used, and appreciated assets in our communities. With some courthouses dating from as far back as the mid-19th century, they were among the first permanent structures in many counties. With their brick and stone towers, ornate cupolas, and soaring domes, they represent an impressive collection of public architecture. Not surprisingly, Texas has more historic courthouses than any other state—235 are still in active government use. With decades or even centuries of use, most of these structures have significantly deteriorated due to inadequate maintenance, insensitive modifications, or weather-related damage.
The Texas Historical Commission's (THC) nationally recognized and award-winning Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP) has turned around the trend of disrepair and begun restoring these treasured historic landmarks. To date, the program has restored 63 Texas courthouses and another 28 courthouses have received emergency or planning grants to complete small projects.
Today, restored county courthouses serve as a catalyst to economic revitalization in the business districts that surround courthouse squares throughout the state. Counties with restored historic courthouses also see an impact in the form of increased tourism, accessibility, safety, energy efficiency, and much more.
In support of the projects completed with state grant funds, the THC also created the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program, which provides technical assistance and training to county staff in how to maintain their newly restored courthouse.
State taxes generated through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program
Check out the 2015 issue of the THC's Courthouse Cornerstones (PDF). In this issue, you'll read about the threats to historic courthouses in Texas, why courthouse preservation is important to Laura Bush, updates on the THCPP's latest work to preserve historic Texas courthouses and the economic impact it's making on local communities, and more.
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