Texas Historic Markers, a short history

The Shelby County Historical Commission (the local organizational branch of the Texas Historical Commission) will dedicate a Texas Historic Marker for Fairview Cemetery on Saturday, June 2, 2018. This is one of three sites to be dedicated in 2018. The State of Texas has a proud history of locating and dedicating historic sites.

The State of Texas first commemorated a historical site in 1856 by contributing to marking graves at the San Jacinto Battlefield. Also in 1856, the Legislature bought an existing Alamo monument which had been built in 1841 with stones gathered from the battle site. The Alamo monument traveled to Houston, New Orleans, and Austin where it resided until being destroyed in a fire in 1881.

In later years, men who had fought for Texas Independence from Mexico were commemorated. The 18th Texas Legislature (January 9, 1882 – February 6, 1884) paid for marble obelisks to honor James Fannin’s men at Goliad, Amos B. King’s men at Refugio, and Britton Dawson’s men at LaGrange. More monuments were placed in later years.

The Texas Legislature created the Texas State Library and Historical Commission in 1909. This group collected materials related to Texas history and marked historic sites and houses and secured their preservation. From 1915-1918, the State of Texas and the Daughters of the American Revolution together placed 123 granite markers about every five miles along the King’s Highway, also known as the Camino Real or Old San Antonio Road, the trail blazed in 1690 by Alonso de Leon.

The most ambitious program to mark historic sites across the state came during the Great Depression. In 1936, the Texas Centennial Commission placed more than 1,100 markers and monuments around the state to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Texas Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of Texas.

The Texas State Historical Survey Committee (later the Texas Historical Commission) was created in 1953. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Committee placed pink granite monuments and grave markers across Texas.

The current Official Texas Historic Marker program dates to 1962. There are now more than 16,000 state historic markers in the State of Texas.