Historic Preservation


​Sustainable Development and Construction - Current Planning

Historic Preservation

State and National Historic Designations in Dallas​

In addition to a local designation as a Dallas Landmark, there are four separate state and national historic designations that a structure or site can have depending on its significance and the goals of the nominating party. A site may also have a State Historic Marker. Below is a description of the different state and national historic designations.  

View list of all designa​ted historic structures and sites in Dallas​

National Register Listing (NRHP)

Facts

  • Federal program administered at the State level by the Texas Historical Commission via the National Park Service.
  • Does not offer protection against demolition or alteration.
  • Over 90,000 NR listings nationally, and over 3000 in Texas.
  • May qualify income-producing property owners for up to 20% tax credit for rehabilitation costs. 
  • Dallas – 89 individual NR listings and 27 NR historic districts.

Requirements

  • 50 years old or older or exceptionally important architecturally or historically.
  • Can be buildings, structures, objects, or sites. Common examples include houses, districts, schools, hotels, theaters, skyscrapers, barns, bridges, lighthouses, ships, highways, monuments, statues, battlefields, parks, shipwrecks, and prehistoric archeological sites.
  • Must be significant under any or all of the four criteria used for evaluation:
    • Criteria A: That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
    • Criteria B: That are associated with the lives of significant persons in or past; or
    • Criteria C: That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
    • Criteria D: That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory.

Procedure for listing

  • Anyone can nominate a property to the National Register.
  • Contact Texas Historical Commission for forms and consultation.
  • Nominating party is responsible for researching the property/district and providing all documentation.
  • Owners are notified in writing that their property has been nominated.
  • Final decision made by the National Park Service within 6-12 months.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL)

Facts

  • State program administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
  • Highest honor a state can bestow upon a historic structure.
  • Purchase of a historical marker is required.
  • Owners must notify the THC before exterior alterations other than normal maintenance procedures are made.
  • Property does not have to be open to the public.
  • Over 3600 THLs in Texas, 56 in Dallas.

Requirements

  • Most topics must date back 50 years or more, although historic events may be marked after 30 years and individuals may be marked or mentioned in a marker after they have been deceased for 10 years.
  • A building or site that is significant architecturally; associated with an event that changed the course of local and state history; or associated with individuals who have made lasting contributions to our state, community organizations, and businesses.
  • Must be in a good state of repair and any changes over the years must be compatible with the Secretary pf the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Procedure for listing

  • Completed applications are submitted to the County Historical Commission in the county where the property is located.
  • Nominating party is responsible for submitting full documentation.
  • CHC reviews the application and, if approved, forwards the application to the Texas Historic Commission for preliminary review. 
  • $100 application fee is due within 10 days if THC determines the topic is eligible for full review.
  • A final determination is made by THC and, if approved, the plaque inscription is written by THC. Marker is ordered and shipped.
  • Marker ceremony is planned and notice posted on the THC website.
  • Marker information is entered into the Texas State Historic Sites Atlas.
State Historic Marker

Facts

  • State program administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
  • Includes subject markers, Historic Texas Cemeteries markers, and Recorded Texas Landmark markers.
  • Conveys stories of local, regional, state, and national history.
  • Property owner consent is required.
  • Does not protect a property against demolition or alteration, although inappropriate changes can result in removal of the marker.
  • Texas has over 15,000 markers in all 254 counties, 212 in Dallas.

Requirements

  • Age, significance, and architectural requirements govern the eligibility of topics and sites.
  • No legal designation is required for a subject marker, but is required for HTC and RTHL markers.

Procedure for applying for a marker

  • Completed applications are submitted to the County Historical Commission in the county in which the marker will be placed.
  • Nominating party is responsible for submitting full narrative history and documentation.
  • CHC reviews the application and, if approved, forwards the application to the Texas Historic Commission for preliminary review. 
  • $100 application fee is due within 10 days if THC determines the topic is eligible for full review.
  • A final determination is made by THC and, if approved, the plaque inscription is written by THC. Marker is ordered and shipped.
  • Marker ceremony is planned and notice posted on the THC website.
  • Marker information is entered into the Texas State Historic Sites Atlas.
State Antiquities Landmark (SAL)

Facts

  • State program administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
  • Listed properties/sites receive protection under the Antiquities Code of Texas, which means that the land-owning agency must consult with THC about proposed changes to the property.
  • Information about archaeological sites listed as SALs is not available to the general public to protect the sites from vandalism, looting, and destruction.
  • Dallas County has 21 buildings listed as State Antiquity Landmarks.

Requirements

  • Buildings must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places to be eligible, but archaeological sites do not.
  • Must meet the same requirements as for National Register listing.
  • There are 4 categories for SALs: Archaeological sites, shipwrecks, caches and collections, and historic buildings and structures.

Procedure for listing

  • Any interested party may nominate a site for SAL designation, although private property must be nominated by the property owner.
  • Executive Director of the Texas Historic Commission determines if the property is eligible for SAL listing.
  • Nomination is scheduled for consideration at one of THC's public meetings.
  • Antiquities Advisory Board makes a recommendation to THC.
  • A comment period is allowed before a final designation vote occurs at THC's next scheduled public meeting.
  • THC votes to accept or reject the nomination.
National Historic Landmark (NHL)

Facts

  • Federal program administered at the State level by the Texas Historical Commission via the National Park Service.
  • Reserved for properties and sites with exceptionally high historic significance.
  • Listing as a National Historic Landmark automatically places the property/site on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Does not offer protection against demolition or alteration.
  • Approximately 2500 properties listed nationally.
  • Texas has 46 NHLs, and 3 in Dallas (Dealey Plaza, Fair Park Texas Centennial Buildings, and Highland Park Shopping Village).

Requirements

  • A location with the strongest association with a turning point or significant event in American history.
  • A location that best tells the story of an individual who played a significant role in the history of the United States.
  • A location that is an exceptional representation of a particular building or engineering method, technique, or building type in the country.
  • A location that provides the potential to yield new and innovative information about the past through archeology.

Procedure for listing

  • An inquiry is made to National Historic Landmarks Program staff by any interested party (i.e. the owner, State Historic Preservation Officer, scholar, or member of the general public, etc).
  • NHL staff reviews the letter of inquiry and determines eligibility. If the location is eligible, the staff provides the preparer with guidance as the nomination is researched and written by the interested party.
  • The nomination is reviewed by experts and scholars across the nation and their suggestions are incorporated into the nomination.
  • Landmarks Committee reviews the nomination at one of its semiannual meetings and makes a recommendation to the National Park System Advisory Board, who then makes a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior.
  • Secretary of Interior makes a final decision on the nomination. ​