Texas County Historical Marker Programs
A friend sent me a newspaper clipping from the 12-18-2014 edition of the Houston Chronicle. The story was about a 92 year old Montgomery County Barber shop and that it is receiving the first Montgomery County Historical Marker. I picked the article up where it starts discussing the County Marker program.
It is also the first site that is expected to get a newly established historical marker bestowed by the fast-growing county. Each marker will be fashioned from cast aluminum with the society’s emblem featuring the Texas Lone Star flag – a Montgomery County doctor made the hand drawing of the flag that was adopted in 1836.
“The county marker is meant to complement but not replace the state markers. Some sites could qualify for both” Foerster said.
Montgomery County commissioners, like their counterparts in Harris and Walker Counties, recently approved the creation of a county marker program. Foerster says county markers are needed because the Texas Historical Commission has experienced budget cutbacks that can delay the issuing of new markers. Also, he said a county marker can recognize a site that has local interest but that might not rise to the level of state significance.
Texas Historical Commission spokesman Chris Florance said the staff overseeing the state’s marker program was slashed in 2011 from three employees to one but was raised back to two last year. He said the number markers approved each year has had to be limited, but once accepted, the markers are processed within a few months.
“we have had to prioritized and make decisions based on prominence and importance,” he explained. The 180-marker state limit was not reached last year, although 13 proposals were rejected for not meeting the criteria. In order to qualify for a state marker, he said, buildings must be at least 50 years old and “demonstrate historical and architectural integrity and significance.”
“Sites like the Barber Shop might not make the state cut if somebody like Sam Houston hadn’t gotten his hair cut there,: said Sharon Russell, who heads the county’s marker program. But she said the county considers other criteria such as the fact that the barbershop in Conroe, some 40 miles north of downtown Houston, has been a “popular gathering place.”