The El Paso County Historical Commission has a statutory responsibility to initiate and conduct programs suggested by the County Commissioners Court and the Texas Historical Commission. Additionally, our CHC is charged with preserving our county's heritage for the education, economy, and enjoyment of future generations.
What are County Historical Commissions?
The Texas Legislature authorized counties to establish County Historical Commissions to assist county commissioners' courts and the Texas Historical Commission in the preservation of our historic and cultural resources.
The responsibilities of each CHC are set forth in the Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 318. The statute is fairly broad, leaving latitude for CHCs to organize and undertake activities appropriate to their county’s size and resources.
The CHC members are appointed in the odd numbered years by the commissioners' courts during November and December to serve two-year terms. In the event that an appointment steps down, a replacement may be appointed to complete the term vacated.
What is the Texas Historical Commission?
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is an agency dedicated to historic preservation within the state of Texas. The Texas Historical Commission was established as the Texas State Historical Survey Committee by the Texas legislature in 1953 to lead, coordinate, sponsor projects, and act as a clearinghouse and information center to survey, record, preserve, restore, and mark all phases of Texas history by working with and through state, regional, and local groups and individuals. State law authorized county judges to appoint county historical survey committees. Texas had 254 county historical survey committees in 1966. These committees allowed the Texas State Historical Survey Committee to coordinate and cooperate in activities throughout the state. State law also allowed commissioners courts to appropriate money from the general fund to finance the activities of county historical survey committees, and to erect historical markers and acquire objects of historical significance. In addition, cities and counties were authorized to spend funds to operate historical museums. The Texas Legislature changed the agency's name to the Texas Historical Commission in 1973.
The commission also identifies Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks and recognizes them with Official Texas Historical Marker medallions and descriptive plaques. Finally, the commission identifies State Archeological Landmarks and Historic Texas Cemeteries. A bimonthly publication, The Medallion, is published by the agency as a state-wide preservation newsletter and they maintain the Texas Historic Sites Atlas web site to help people locate historic sites.
In the late 1990s, the agency was restructured to have seven divisions that carry out the responsibilities of the agency. The divisions are:
- Administration Division
- Staff Services Division
- Archeology Division
- Division of Architecture
- History Programs Division
- Community Heritage Division
- Marketing Communications Division
There are several boards associated with the Texas Historical Commission:
- The State Board of Review
- The Antiquities Advisory Board
- The Guardians of Texas Preservation Trust Fund
- The Advisory Board of the Texas Preservation Trust Fund
- The Main Street Interagency Council