THE BRICK AND MORTAR OF HISTORY
Texas communities, both large and small, harbor an abundance of historic districts. Some have achieved local designation, some national recognition, some have flourished under revitalization funding and programs such as the Texas Main Street Program and others still stand as diamonds in the rough. But what constitutes a historic district here in Texas? Typically a district possesses a significant collection of structures united historically or aesthetically by design or physical proximity. A Texas historic district can encompass an avenue of commercial buildings that represent a particularly important era of trade and commerce for the state such as the brick and iron storefronts along Galveston’s Strand or Georgetown’s collection of Victorian-era structures around Courthouse Square. Sometimes a historic district refers to a more industrial past such as the Hidalgo Pumphouse Heritage and Discovery Center with its irrigation works and canal system. The term also often refers to estates or farms like the six-acre Eisenhower’s Birthplace State Historic Site or includes rural residential homesteads like the Sam Bell Maxey State Historic Site in the historic district of Paris. Sometimes the designation refers to a collection of well-preserved and continually-utilized structures like the Fair Park Texas Centennial Buildings in Dallas or entire community blocks like those in Rio Grande City where 144 properties help define one of the most important and oldest communities in Texas. Why not look for the historic district in your town? Establishing historic districts across the state have not only benefited district communities economically but helped to preserve important links to our shared past.