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Grant to help fund history consultant

Profile image for By Bj Lewis
By Bj Lewis

The Denton County Office of History and Culture has received a federal grant that will help historians catalog the county’s history.

The $30,000 grant, supplied through the U.S. Department of the Interior, will allow the hiring of a consultant to help guide county history officials in their efforts.

Peggy Riddle, executive director of the Office of History and Culture, said the plan is to hire a consultant who will help put together a plan of attack on what areas and cities to visit first for this survey project.

“The parts of the county we need to identify [as] historic buildings, cultural landscapes — like a virgin prairie or a windmill or an old well — we need to identify before developers come in and everything is changed,” she said.

Riddle said she is hoping that when developers come in and see a significant number of historical buildings in an area where they intend to build, they can be encouraged to save those buildings or find a new use for them so they are not all destroyed.

Hand-held devices with the ability to capture site information and plot it on county maps will be used in the surveying, Riddle said.

“I give credit to Peggy Riddle for examining new avenues for us to examine county history and expand the story of Denton County,” said County Judge Mary Horn.

This is the first phase of the project, but Riddle said she thinks there will be enough in the current grant to hire a consultant and begin the survey work. The county can apply annually for these funds as long as they are used for the survey, for preservation education or for training for members of preservation committees.

The first phase will be completed by August.

Riddle said there will be a lot of data to manage, so the office will be looking at volunteers from the community to help.

“I am looking for volunteers once we get this consultant on board, hopefully by the Fourth of July, for people who want to explore our county with us,” Riddle said. “It would be a great opportunity for something fun to do. I haven’t seen all the parts of the county myself, so I am looking forward to it.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.