Historic Preservation

May is National Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month, when local preservation and civic organizations spotlight their preservation programs and heritage tourism. Round Rock has an expansive network of place savers. For example, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, nonprofits like the Williamson Museum, Round Rock Preservation, and the Old Settlers Association, skilled craftspeople and historic property owners all work to preserve the city’s history. This year we will highlight Round Rock’s “Old Town,” its original settlement that grew at a low water crossing marked by a round rock.

Preservation Month events and activities:

  • May 3: Chuckwagon Dinner 6-8 p.m. at the Old Settlers Association. Fundraiser for the Williamson Museum.
  • May 4: Pioneer Day 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the old Settlers Association. Free. Visitors will be able to dip candles, churn butter, make corn husk dolls and visit reenactment camps and chuckwagon areas.
  • May 14: Lunch & Learn: “People and Places of Historic Importance in Round Rock” presented by Pearson Ranch Middle School 7th grade Texas History students. Noon – 1 p.m. at the Baca Center. Bring your lunch, we’ll provide cookies!
  • May 8 and 22: Visit the Preservation Month booth at Music on Main, 7-9 p.m. at Prete Plaza.
  • Visit the Center Art Club’s exhibit “Old Town” at the Baca Center lobby.
  • Visit the 3rd floor of the Round Rock Public Library to see exhibits by Round Rock Preservation, the Center Art Club. and book selections relating to Old Town.   
  • Watch City of Round Rock social media accounts for posts about Round Rock history, historic landmarks, historic photos and more! 
  • May 19-25: Texas Living History Week celebrated at historic sites around Texas. Visit texastimetravel.com for listing of events by region.

Historic Preservation Programs

Historic properties in Round Rock

Round Rock’s history can be told through its historic landmarks. 

Historic designation and zoning

Historic properties in Round Rock are designated with Historic overlay zoning.

Certificates of appropriateness

Properties with historic overlay zoning may not be altered without a Certificate of Appropriateness issued before work begins.

Local Legends

The Local Legend program recognizes contributions to Round Rock’s history in the areas of historic preservation, history, culture, diversity, and/or heritage.

Historic tax exemption

The goal of the historic property tax exemption program is to encourage proper maintenance and repair of historic properties.  

Local history:

(New) Portable History Displays
The Historic Round Rock Collection
Local History Resources
Downtown Historic Building Placards
Preservation Minute Videos
Streetlamp Dedication Plaques

Preservation News and Events

Find the information you need

Round Rock Replay (HPC agendas, minutes, videos)
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) 2024 meeting schedule  
Adopted FY2024 HPC Goals

2023-2024 HPC Commissioners
HPC Commissioners L-R: Richard Parson, Sharon Whitaker, Tammy Conrad, Audrey Simmons, Andrew Wolfe, Adrian Neely. Not pictured: Pamela Anderson.

 

About the Historic Preservation Commission 

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is a citizen commission appointed by the City Council to preserve, protect and promote the City of Round Rock’s historic resources through preservation, public education, community partnerships, and heritage tourism.

The Historic Preservation Commission’s responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating Certificate of Appropriateness applications for historically zoned properties
  • Evaluating and recommending properties and districts for historic designation
  • Recommending Council action concerning applications for the historic properties tax exemption program
  • Administering the requirements of the National Park Service’s Certified Local Government Program

For more information please refer to Code of Ordinances Part III Section 10-66: Historic Preservation Commission, or contact Kerstin Harding at 512-218-5421.

Meetings 

Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month (usually) in the City Council Chambers. Please refer to the HPC 2024 Meeting Schedule or Round Rock Replay for dates, agendas and meeting video. 

Contact Commissioners

Contact HPC commissioners through Kerstin Harding at 512-218-5421. Please send correspondence in care of the Historic Preservation Program, 301 W. Bagdad Avenue, Suite 210, Round Rock, TX  78664.

Membership & Qualifications  

HPC members are appointed by the City Council. The seven members of the Historic Preservation Commission serve staggered two-year terms. Members should have some expertise in architecture, history, archaeology, planning or community design. Members must be registered voters and have been residents of Round Rock for at least twelve months.

Over the past few decades, Round Rock has increasingly recognized the importance of historic places in the community. When the city adopted its historic preservation ordinance in 1979, it paved the way for an upswing in historic preservation and restoration efforts in the 1980s and 1990s. The Partial Tax Exemptions for Historically Significant Sites program was established in 1982 and the Round Rock Downtown Commercial District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Historic Preservation Program Resources
Round Rock Historic Preservation Plan for 2020-2030 (pdf)   
FY2021 Preservation Plan Update (pdf)
FY2022 Preservation Plan Update (pdf)
FY2023 Preservation Plan Update (pdf)

2010-2013 Survey and Inventory of Historic Resources
Historic Designation & Historic Overlay Zoning
Protecting Historic Properties: A Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 Review (brochure, pdf)

Information for historic property owners about designating your property, making changes to a historic property, and the historic tax exemption.

Care and Maintenance of Historic Properties
Mortar Repair: a Guide for Historic Property Owners (pdf)
Preservation Briefs (National Park Service) 
Technical Preservation Services (National Pal Service)
Technical Guidelines for historic projects (General Services Administration)
Technical Procedures, References and Specifications (General Services Administration)

Making Changes to Historic Properties
Making changes to historic properties
Certificate of Appropriateness application packet 2023
Historic Design Guidelines for Residential Properties (pdf)
Historic Design Guidelines for Commercial Properties
 (pdf)

Historic Tax Exemption

Historic property Tax Exemption
Partial Tax Exemption for Historically Significant Properties (brochure, pdf)

Historic Designation 

Historic Designation & Historic Overlay Zoning
Designation of Historic Landmarks and Historic Districts (brochure, pdf)

Round Rock currently has 79 city-designated historic landmarks, of which 37 are also designated by the State of Texas and/or National Register of Historic Places. 

Walking Guide to Historic Downtown Round Rock (11×17 print version/reading version)
Historic Architecture in Round Rock
Historical Markers in and Near Round Rock
Downtown Historic District (National Register District)
Chisholm Trail Historic Area

Local history

Local History Resources
The Historic Round Rock Collection
Sam Bass and the Great Round Rock Shootout of July 19, 1878 (pdf)

Historic Preservation Program Overview

Previous Planning and Development Services Director Brad Wiseman presented an overview of Round Rock’s historic preservation program at the April 9, 2019 City Council packet briefing. For more information about the historic preservation program, watch the presentation video or check out the historic preservation program slides (pdf).

Historic Preservation in Round Rock

St. Charles Hotel (built ca. 1870)

The City of Round Rock was founded in the 1840s where the Chisholm Trail crosses Brushy Creek, at the area now known as “Old Town.” In 1876, many of the businesses and residents moved to the current downtown area (“New Town”) when the railroad extended its tracks there. Since then, the City has grown steadily.

As it grows, the City of Round Rock works with owners of older and historic properties to encourage maintenance and upkeep, as well as retention of the historic character of buildings, structures, sites, and districts.  The Department of Planning and Development Services (PDS) manages the City’s historic preservation programs. These include:

  • Advising property owners who want to renovate historic buildings and approving their proposed changes
  • City-wide preservation planning
  • Maintaining an inventory of historic properties
  • Designating local landmarks and historic districts
  • Managing a property tax exemption program available to historic property owners
  • Educating the public about Round Rock’s history and the City’s preservation programs

The city’s Historic Preservation Office is part of the Planning and Development Services Department and manages city preservation programs such as the historic tax exemption program, historic designations, and maintaining a city historic resources survey. Contact the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) or preservation staff through Planner Kerstin Harding at 512-218-5428 or kharding@roundrocktexas.gov.

Round Rock Preservation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that promotes the protection, preservation, and support for historic preservation in Round Rock. Its members conduct educational events about Round Rock history and advocate for the preservation of specific historic properties.  Contact Round Rock Preservation through their website or email at roundrockpreservation@gmail.com.

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