Denton has become the 10th city in the state to be deemed a Texas Treasure.
The award, an initiative from the office of Texas first lady Anita Perry and the Texas Historical Commission, was announced Thursday in recognition of communities that showcase their dedication to preservation efforts through participation in state and local programs.
“This is a lifetime achievement for preservation,” said Julie Glover, Denton’s economic development program administrator. “It’s a great honor. There’s a handful of cities this has been given to over the years. It doesn’t mean we need to stop, doesn’t mean the race is run — we just have to keep going.”
Other cities that have been named Texas Treasures since the award began in 2009 are Paris in 2013; San Angelo in 2012; Brownsville in 2011; Nacogdoches, San Marcos and Waxahachie in 2010; and Castroville, Georgetown and Mount Vernon in 2009.
“Texas Treasures are communities that go the extra mile to discover their roots, teach living history lessons and create a lasting legacy for future generations,” Perry said in a news release. “This award recognizes visionary communities that put in the hard work required to ensure that their hometown is different from the next. It spotlights communities that lovingly maintain their monuments from the past in order to create a stronger future.”
The award will be presented at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Commissioners Courtroom at the Courthouse on the Square by Texas Historical Commission Executive Director Mark Wolfe.
“I’m always happy to see Denton recognized in such a positive, wonderful way,” said County Judge Mary Horn. “I like that this information will be spread to everyone, and I hope they come visit us and shop Denton.”
Denton’s features that contributed to the award include the restored Courthouse on the Square with its original, working clock, a Main Street district that includes businesses in historic buildings, the Denton County African American Museum and the North Texas Horse Country Tour, according to a news release from the historical commission.
The historical commission also cited preservation efforts by residents and organizations, including the Denton County Historical Commission, the city’s Community Development Division, the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Downtown Task Force and economic development board.
The commission noted local efforts to reuse historic buildings — including development of Jupiter House, loft residences and the Campus Theatre — that sparked interest in downtown housing, according to the release.
Glover said she had submitted applications for the award for several years and that the scales finally were tipped in Denton’s favor by a cooperative effort to make the application comprehensive.
“It’s pretty intense,” Glover said. “You have to send in photos, list in different categories everything you have done, all the awards you have won over the years. It took a lot of effort, probably 70 or 80 hours on the application. It’s not just something you fill in and drop in the mail.”
Beth Stribling, chairwoman of the Denton County Historical Commission, said some of the awards and features include 42 historical markers and two historic cemeteries.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.