Exploring the Rapid Development and Rich History of Kaufman County
Kaufman County is experiencing rapid residential, commercial and industrial growth. According to the last US Census, the county grew by over 32,000 residents or almost 45%, between 2000 and 2010. Housing increased by almost 10,500 units, and the number of businesses reported in the county was over 1,600, compared to only 1,400 in 2000.
Many historical sites in the county are undeveloped but have the potential to become important attractions that can bring visitors and revenue to Kaufman County.
In 1956, the Texas Legislature mandated that each county commissioner’s court appoint a historical survey committee. The county historical survey committees were to be affiliated with the Texas State Historical Survey Committee (The name changed to the Texas Historical Commission in the 1970s.). According to the Texas Local Government Code, a county commissioners’ court “may appoint a county historical commission for initiating and conducting programs suggested by the commissioners’ court and the Texas Historical Commission for preserving the county’s historical heritage”.
By statute, county historical commissions must continue surveying the county’s historical sites, structures and memorabilia. With the approval and financial support from the county judges and commissioners, they may operate museums, publish county histories, prepare grant applications, designate special areas of historic interest, and promote area historic sites for tourists and residents alike.
In this country, there are many beautiful buildings built with outstanding architecture. There is a lot to say about each building, and even better to describe it in words in an essay for an architecture book.
Friends of KCHC is a Texas 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation established in 1997 to promote interest in the county’s history and assist in the preservation and protection of objects and sites of historical importance within Kaufman County with financial and organizational support of projects under the direction of the Kaufman County Historical Commission (KCHC). Among the many projects that have received funding and volunteer assistance from the Friends are:
- The Porter Farm Centennial Celebration.
- Frank Reaugh Art Exhibit & Symposium.
- Annual Historical Ghost Walk.
- THC Texas Archeology Month activities.
- County “Poor Farm” restoration.
- Publication of books on the early histories of Kaufman County and the City of Terrell.
Probably the most visible program of the THC, historical markers commemorate diverse topics — from the history and architecture of houses, commercial and public buildings, religious congregations and events that changed the course of local and state history to individuals who have made lasting contributions to our state, community organizations and businesses, military sites, and many more. Age, significance and architectural requirements govern the eligibility of topics and sites when applying for a subject marker, Historic Texas Cemetery marker or a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark marker. Each new and replacement historical marker includes a $100 application fee that funds special markers to address historical gaps, promote diversity of topics and proactively document under-told stories of the state.
Finding Historical Markers
The links below are provided for your convenience. Their appearance here does not constitute an endorsement, nor is this list all-inclusive.
1. Texas Historic Sites Atlas, provided by the Texas Historical Commission, is a free, searchable online database that can be searched by keyword, county, map address, address, designation or site name. You can also download data by county.
2. StoppingPoints.com offers a searchable database of national historical markers. Select Texas, then Kaufman County, to display an interactive map showing the locations of markers and a linked list of markers by name.
3. The Historical Marker Database provides a nationwide searchable list of historical markers.
Two recent books are available through bookstores:
1. History Ahead: Stories Beyond the Texas Roadside Markers by Dan K. Utley and Cynthia J. Beeman, 2010, Texas A & M University Press.
2. Why Stop? A Guide to Texas Historical Roadside Markers by Betty Dooley Awbrey, 2005, Taylor Trade Publishing.
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