Historic Designation

What is an individually designated Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC) property?

Properties designated as HC fulfill two (2) or more of the Criterial for significance and integrity as laid out by the Historic Preservation Ordinance. These properties are eligible for a 10-year tax freeze based on the assessed value of the land in the year prior to the application date if the rehabilitation requirements have been satisfied. Following designation,  exterior work to the property is subject to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Any changes to the exterior of the property will require an approved Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission (HCLC) or the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO).  

What is a Highly Significant Endangered (HSE) property?

Properties designated HSE fulfill three (3) or more of the Historic Preservation Ordinance criteria for significance and integrity and are threatened by irretrievable loss. HSE properties, like HC properties, are eligible for a 10-year tax freeze based on the assessed value of the year prior to application but may be granted a tax freeze of 15 years if the rehabilitation work is completed within 2 years. Any changes to the exterior of the property will require an approved Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission (HCLC) or the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO).


Criteria for Significance and Integrity

The following criteria, as well as the criteria applied to evaluate districts for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, must be used to establish the significance and integrity of property or neighborhoods and their features, and to evaluate the eligibility of a property as a historic property or HC District:

a. Significance

  1. Is distinctive in character, interest or value, and exemplifies the cultural, economic, social, ethnic or historical heritage of the City of Fort Worth, State of Texas or the United States.
  2. Is an important example of a particular architectural type or specimen or embodies elements of architectural design, detail, material or craftsmanship that represent a significant architectural innovation in Fort Worth.
  3. Has been identified as the work of an important architect or master builder whose individual work has contributed to the development of Fort Worth.
  4. Has been identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the City of Fort Worth, State of Texas or the United States.
  5. Bears a significant relationship to other distinctive buildings, structures, sites, objects or areas, either as an important collection of properties of architectural style, or craftsmanship with few intrusions, or by contributing to the overall character of the area according to a plan based on architectural, historic or cultural motif.
  6. Possesses significant archeological value, which has produced or is likely to produce data affecting theories of historic or prehistoric interest.
  7. Is the site of a significant historic event.
  8. Is designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, State Antiquities Landmark or an American Civil Engineering Landmark, or is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

b. Integrity

  1. A property’s ability to convey its significance, taking into consideration the following seven factors: location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling and association, as set forth in National Register of Historic Places’ Seven Aspects of Integrity.


What changes can I make to my property after it has been designated?

All changes to the exterior of the property require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) before permits may be issued. This confirms that all work done on the property upholds the historic significance and integrity of the property. Changes to the property that require a COA include but are not limited to the following:

  • Walls
  • Siding
  • Windows
  • Doors

  • Decks
  • Roofing
  • Arches
  • Fences
  • Accessory structures
  • Additions
  • Driveways or walkways
  • Porches and porch columns


How do I apply?

Historic Designation applications are due the third (3rd) Monday before the next scheduled Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission (HCLC) public hearing. The HCLC meets the second (2nd) Monday of each month at 2:00PM in Council Chambers located on the second (2nd) floor of City Hall at 200 Texas Street.

The Historic Designation for Individual Sites application can be filled out in pdf and emailed to Design.Review@fortworthtexas.gov or turned in hard copy to Development Services located on the second (2nd) floor of City Hall at 200 Texas Street.  

How are individual properties nominated for designation?

A property may be nominated for designation as Highly Significant Endangered (HSE), Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC), or Demolition Delay (DD) by the City Manager, City Council, Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission, the owner or the owner’s authorized representative. Nominations shall be submitted to the Historic Preservation Officer. Nomination by the City Council or the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission shall be in the form of a resolution requesting that the Historic Preservation Officer submit the nomination to the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission. Nomination by the City Manager or the owner shall be by completion of a nomination form promulgated by the Development Services Department. There is no application fee.


How does the process work?

Step 1: Application guidelines

Upon submission of the completed application, you will be placed on the next available scheduled HCLC meeting as a public hearing action item. Incomplete applications will not be accepted or forwarded to the HCLC for action. A completed application will consist of a description of the property, criteria for designation, and address and legal description for the property all this information is indicated on the application form.

Step 2: Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission Public Hearing

The application shall be heard within 45 days after it is deemed complete, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. The HCLC may continue the case for a reasonable time if the Commission finds that all parties who have an interest in the structure or property are not present or that additional information is needed by the HCLC in order to evaluate such application. At the HCLC public hearing, the owner or owners, interested parties, local preservation groups and technical experts may present testimony or documentary evidence which will become part of a record regarding the historic, cultural, architectural or archeological importance of the structures or property.

Step 3: City Council Hearing

The City Council shall give notice and conduct its hearing on the HCLC’s recommendation concerning the proposed designation within 45 days of receipt of the recommendation of the HCLC, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. 


Are there any economic benefits to designating my property?

Properties designated as Historic and Cultural Landmarks (HC) are eligible for a 10-year tax freeze of the assessed value of the land and improvements for the year previous to improvements, and Highly Significant and Endangered (HSE) properties are eligible for a15 year tax freeze. Additionally, well maintained historic properties typically have higher home values than non- historic properties.

See Historic Site Tax Exemption or contact staff for more information. 


What is the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission (HCLC)?

The HCLC is a nine-member volunteer commission appointed by the Mayor and the City Council to review projects for certificates of appropriateness (COA) in historic districts and for individually designated properties, to nominate property for historic designation, and to assist in the implementation of the Citywide Historic Preservation Plan. Each member of the commission has demonstrated professional and/ or personal expertise in planning, historic preservation, law, real estate, architecture, or landscape architecture as required by the City Code and by the federal Certified Local Government Program. Most of the members also have some experience with personal historic rehabilitation projects of their own. The HCLC meets each month to review designations and applications for certificates of appropriateness.


Who is the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO)?

The Historic Preservation Officer is an employee of the City of Fort Worth appointed to work specifically with the HCLC and owners of historic property. The HPO can provide technical assistance to property owners such as assistance in finding qualified craftsman, resources for researching the history of your home, answer questions about tax incentives for historic properties, assist you in putting together an application for a designation or certificate of appropriateness, and making design choices to fit your home’s structure. The HPO also makes professional recommendations to the HCLC and City departments relative to historic preservation.