Saving Texas' Most Endangered Buildings

On February 20, members of the Society's Historic Resources Committee attended Preservation Day at the State Capitol. Committee Chair Eva Read-Warden, AIA, reports on the events of the day, and how Texas Architects are partnering with Preservation Texas during the 83rd Legislative Session.

On Feb. 20, 2013, Preservation Day kicked off at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, and ended at the State Capitol.
From left to right: Ann McGlone, AIA; Eva Read-Warden, AIA; and David "Jay" Hrivnatz, AIA
Charlene Orr, President of Preservation Texas
Anna Hudson, Executive Director of Preservation Texas
For the tenth anniversary Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places, Preservation Texas prepared a retrospective list, looking back at the sites that had been saved, the sites that were lost, and buildings that continue to suffer uncertain futures. The Texas State Railroad was named a saved site.
John S. Harrison House built in 1852 was named a saved site. It is located in Selma, Bexar County and was originally listed on the 2006 Most Endangered List.

Preservation Day is an advocacy effort created and hosted by Preservation Texas to promote the protection and restoration of Texas historic buildings and places. The day included a review of funding for the Texas Historical Commission, advocacy training, a review of the organization's Most Endangered Places List and visits with senators and representatives. Anna Hudson, executive director for Preservation Texas, did a tremendous job in organizing the event, after just a little over one month in her new position.

Preservation Texas held a press conference on the south steps of the Capitol, where it highlighted sites from the past 10 years of its Most Endangered Places list. The review featured six saved sites, three lost sites, and three threatened sites (learn about each of these in our photo gallery above). This retrospective featured the “lessons learned” over the years since the list was first created, especially the importance of collaboration between local advocates and elected officials. 

The Texas Society of Architects Historic Resources Committee is partnering with Preservation Texas to follow, influence, and respond to activity in the 2013 legislative session. Committee members were among the Texas voters who visited their legislators on Preservation Day to advocate for the courthouse restoration fund, funding for the Texas Historical Commission, and funding for the preservation trust fund. 

The success of the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program is evidenced in 63 full restorations, which not only saved the historical gems, but also provided significant economic stimulus to the surrounding communities. Since the inception of the program in 1999, 9,693 jobs have been created, and $269,310,968 in income and $22,037,507 in state taxes have been generated. In addition, preserved courthouses have added to the $63.2 billion tourism industry. Clearly, saving these historical treasures has both a cultural and economic impact.

 

Last updated: February 28, 2013

by: Eva Read-Warden, AIA, principal at The Arkitex Studio in Bryan

Article Resources

Talk About It

About 1 year ago: Norman Alston

Losing a structure from 1722 really hurts. Clearly there is much still to do.

About 1 year ago: Brett Wolfe

Follow this great cause at www.ilovetexascourthouses.org