Historic Preservation

Preservation Month Highlights

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.

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:

The Historic Round Rock Collection
Local History Resources
Downtown Historic Building Placards
Preservation Minute Videos
Streetlamp Dedication Plaques

Preservation News and Events

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

Find the information you need

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)
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)

Historic Preservation Commission
Adopted FY2023 HPC Goals
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)
Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) 2023 meeting schedule  

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

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

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).

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