The Montgomery County Historical Commission is offering for sale its new 239-page pictorial book on our county’s history: MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS HISTORICAL TIMELINE, a chronology of historic facts and anecdotes concerning the entire County from its pre-historic days of the Native Americans and the Spanish explorers through those recent county events occurring in 2013. Numerous Read more ...
WHAT IS THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION?
The official state agency for historical preservation, the Texas Historical Commission (THC), was created originally in 1953 as the Texas State Historical Survey Committee by the Texas Legislature. It retained that title until the 63rd Legislature changed it to the Texas Historical Commission.
The Montgomery County Historical Commission (CHC) is a duly constituted organization of Montgomery County government composed of citizen members who are appointed by the County Commissioners and serve for two-year terms. The Commission reports to the County Judge and the Commissioners Court, and also to the Texas Historical Commission.
The County Historical Commission has followed the Texas Historical Commission’s on-going purpose of surveying, recording and promoting the appreciation of local history as well as marking those historic sites and structures deemed worthy of preservation for either historical or architectural reasons.
The Commission works in various fields, including archeology, architecture, history, economic development and heritage tourism for the benefit of present and future generations. The agency helps identify and preserve historic sites and helps to preserve the heritage of Montgomery County. Historic preservation is a vital part of a promising future within our community.
- To discover, and as appropriate, circulate information pertinent to the historical identity of Montgomery County, Texas, such as the placement of historical markers.
- To cooperate with other persons, groups, organizations and agencies in preserving the history and heritage of Texas.
RECAP OF HISTORICAL COMMISSION ACTIVITIES IN 2012
- MEMBERSHIP: The Commissioners Court in 2012 appointed eight (8) new members to the County Historical Commission (CHC) to complement the members who have faithfully served on the Commission for many years. These new members represent historical organizations around the County or have particular expertise that makes them valuable to the Commission’s efforts to preserve and promote our County’s rich history.
- MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS: The Historical Commission has met four (4) times since June. (The Texas Historical Commission asks that each county historical commission meets at least four times each year.) The Commission plans to have regular meetings every other month this year beginning in January. Meetings have been held at the Greater Conroe Chamber although meetings at other locations around the County may be scheduled in the future.
- COMMISSION BY-LAWS: The Historical Commission has approved new By-Laws which conform to the recommendations of the Texas Historical Commission.
- COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION WEBSITE: A five-member Website Committee chaired by CHC member David Frame is working on the development of an upscale CHC website with plans for completion by June 2013. The CHC website will serve as an internet archive for historical articles and photos of Montgomery County and provide an interactive map of historical sites around the County with individual “pins” where, when activated, a link to a historic narrative will provide the reader with detailed information about each historical site, building and cemetery. The CHC website will serve as a clearinghouse for many other county and state historical societies and museums. It will also offer a calendar of events for local historical organizations, county residents and tourists. There are plans to offer paid sponsorships of each historic site link on the CHC website for local businesses and civic organizations to support the Historical Commission and its website through an advertising banner at the bottom of each historical site web link.
- HISTORICAL RESOURCE SURVEY: An updated Historical Resource Survey is underway to identify all historic sites and buildings in our county with the volunteer expertise of our CHC member David “Jay” Hrivnatz, a historical preservation architect from Willis. This information can be used for our website’s map of historical sites, buildings and cemeteries throughout the County. This project will also help the Commission identify and protect old historical structures that may be planned for demolition or otherwise damaged. Jay Hrivnatz has also proposed the formation of a Historical Preservation Committee under the direction of the CHC that will identify threatened old historic buildings that may be subject to demolition or need repair, or be qualified for designation with a historical marker.
- YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD. CHC member Brenda Beaven, a retired Texas history teacher and an active member of the Montgomery Historical Society and the Fernland Historical Park board of directors, is organizing a new CHC Youth Advisory Board, composed of 2 high school student representatives from each public and private high school in Montgomery County. This Youth Advisory Board will provide suggestions to the Historical Commission for the promotion of historical activities that would engage students’ interest in our local and state history and would recruit student volunteers to assist the CHC and other historical organizations in the preservation and promotion of historic buildings, sites and cemeteries throughout Montgomery County.
- HISTORIC PRESERVATION GRANTS: With the annual financial support of the Commissioners Court, CHC continues to offer grants to non-profit historical organizations around the County as reimbursement for rehabilitation of old historic structures. Working closely with County Auditor Phyllis Martin and County Judge Sadler’s staff, the CHC Finance Committee (composed of Gertie Spencer and Anna Shepeard) has developed new guidelines and procedures for CHC and Commissioners Court approval of such grants.
- STATE HISTORICAL MARKERS: The Commission has sponsored a new Texas historical marker on the Montgomery Courthouse square memorializing the history of our five (5) county courthouses, and has also assisted the City of Conroe and Conroe Live, Inc. with another Texas historical marker commemorating the Great Conroe Fire of 1911. (Final approval of both historical markers by the Texas Historical Commission is not expected before 2014.) The Pool Cemetery on FM 149 north of Montgomery was also recognized with a state historical marker this fall. The Commission has plans to pursue designation of state historical markers for the abandoned towns of Danville and Fostoria.
- COUNTY HISTORICAL MARKERS: The Commission is considering the development of a Montgomery County Historical Landmark plaque program. These special medal markers would designate historic old buildings, sites and cemetery burial plots that have historical significance to our County but might not otherwise immediately qualify for state designation with a Texas Historical Marker. This would complement our historical map on the CHC website and provide another means of promoting tourism and encouraging historical preservation.
- COUNTY HISTORICAL TIMELINE: CHC Chairman Larry Foerster is completing an extensive Montgomery County, Texas Historical Timeline. When published later this year, this 130+ page spiral-bound book will offer a very detailed chronological report of significant historical events in Montgomery County from the time of Spanish exploration to the present. Plans call for offering this book free for all county and school libraries, and to make it available for sale to the public as a fundraising project for the CHC.
- PICTORIAL HISTORY BOOK OF CONROE: Noted historical author Dr. Robin Montgomery and CHC Chairman Larry Foerster are also compiling material for a pictorial history book on Conroe to be published in 2014. These efforts are supported by the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County as well as the Historical Commission.
- WALKING TOUR OF CONROE: CHC members are also involved in plans to develop a walking tour of historic Downtown Conroe in collaboration with the Conroe Convention and Visitors Bureau and Conroe Live, Inc.
- TEXAS LEGACY FEST: The CHC will also be assisting the non-profit Texas Center for Regional Studies (directed by Dr. Robin Montgomery and his daughter Joy Montgomery) along with the Friends of the Flag Foundation and the Conroe Convention and Visitors Bureau with the April 12-13 “Texas Legacy Fest,” a two day celebration in Conroe of the 200th anniversary of the First Republic of Texas in 1813, known to Texas historians as the Green Flag Republic.
- OLD CONROE VILLAGE: Members of the CHC are also assisting the non-profit Conroe Live, Inc. and the City of Conroe’s Parks Department in the annual CONROE KIDZ FEST, a family event on Saturday, April 27, by assisting with Old Conroe Village, a unique heritage venue which permits visitors of all ages to step back in time to what downtown Conroe was like 100 years ago.
- INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE: The Historical Commission serves as a clearinghouse for the distribution of information and announcements among historical organizations and interested citizens in our County concerning upcoming events and projects of significant historical interest throughout Montgomery County and the State.
Larry L. Foerster, Chairman
Montgomery County Historical Commission