Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Interested in Applying for an Historical Marker?

The Texas Historical Commission administers a program to place official Texas Historical Markers to identify deserving historic subjects.

Historical markers have been a part of the Texas landscape since 1936, when the Texas Centennial Commission placed more than 900 markers and monuments around the state to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Texas Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of Texas. The current Official Texas Historical Marker program dates to 1962 and it has been a popular means for interpreting local and state history and encouraging heritage tourism for almost four decades. There are more than 13,000 markers across the state.

Markers can be obtained for cemeteries, historic buildings, churches and synagogues, communities, events and individuals who have made lasting contributions to the community. Any individual or group may apply for a marker if the subject meets the eligibility criteria. In general, the subject must be at least 50 years old and must have historic significance, that is it has to have had some influence, effect or impact on the course of history or cultural development in the local community or beyond. Two exceptions to the 50-year rule are that historic events may be marked after 30 years, and individuals may be marked after they have been deceased for 10 years.

The marker process in Texas begins at the county level. All marker applications must first be reviewed by the County Historical Commission. The CHC can assist the applicant with understanding the Texas Historical Commission rules and suggest research ideas and sources; therefore, it is recommended that the applicant contact their CHC before starting work on a marker application.

Marker applications require a completed application form, and narrative history (usually four to ten pages long) with documentation, foot notes and an online map. These items must be presented to the county historical commission by Sept. 1, 2007 for a 2008 marker. After the application is reviewed and approved on the county level it can then be filed with the Texas Historical Commission. The process must be done electronically. The Texas Historical Commission will verify the information and documentation, then notify the CHC of their decision or if any additional information is needed. They will decide the inscription and size of the marker. A dedication ceremony can be scheduled after approval and receipt of the marker. Markers can be funded by individuals, families or donated by organizations. Cemetery markers require two separate applications. A cemetery must first be designated as an Historic Texas Cemetery before the marker application can be filed. This designation is then filed with the county clerk's office in the deed records. The recognition encourages preservation of these worthy family and community graveyards.

For more information on the Official Texas Historical Commission Marker Program in Atascosa County or to begin the application process, please call the Atascosa County Historical Commission members, Norman Porter or Barbara Westbrook. For Texas Cemetery designation and markers please call Roger and Mary Ann Cumpian.

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