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GRANT SPOTLIGHT: MARCH 2023

March 2023 Texas Historical Foundation Grants Roundup

Council of Texas Archeologists

THF Director and archeologist Dr. Clark Wernecke presented the Foundation’s 2023 grant to Eric Schroeder of Council of Texas Archeologists at UT Austin’s Texas Archeological Research Laboratory. The grant is in support of CTA’s Texas Private Lands Heritage Preservation Partnership initiative, in which archeologists from around the state promote the preservation of cultural heritage sites located on private property.

More than 90% of Texas heritage sites are on private lands, and misinformation as to the implications of declaring these treasures has left many landowners wary of taking steps toward preservation. Through the Partnership, CTA seeks to share information and resources to promote conservation and deconstruct the perception that on property conservation is a net-negative for landowners. Services offered include technical support from preservation professionals and resources for tax relief.

To learn more about the Council of Texas Archeologists’ Texas Private Lands Heritage Preservation Partnership program, visit counciloftexasarcheologists.org.

Texas State Historical Association

Texas State Historical Association is the winner of a recent THF grant in support of publication for the forthcoming book, “Under the Double Eagle: Citizen Employees of the U.S. Army on the Texas Frontier, 1846-1899” by historian and TSHA fellow Col. Thomas T. Smith. The book, published under the TSHA Press imprint, hopes to be a defining text on an oft-neglected area of Texas frontier history, namely the outsized role that citizen employees of the Army played in the settlement of the Texas frontier.

A presentation of the grant was held at Texas State Historical Association’s Austin offices on March 20, 2023, with THF Scholar Director and former TSHA President Frank de la Teja presenting to TSHA staffers Holly Raiborn and Brett Derbes. It is the Foundation’s fourth grant in support of TSHA publishing projects.

For a full list of books from TSHA Press, including a great selection of e-books, visit tshaonline.org/publications.

Preservation Texas

Summer 2022 awardees Preservation Texas received a presentation of their grant in support of their ongoing restoration of the 1915 White’s Hardware storefront in historic downtown Kosse, Texas. Formerly Kosse City Hall, the structure is now undergoing work to restore original historic features ahead of use as Bassett Farms Visitor Center, which will serve as a hub for regional heritage tourism as well as archival space for the nearby Bassett Farms.

Founded in 1985 to support historic preservation efforts across the state at the local level, in 2012 Preservation Texas found itself the new owners of 2,400 acres of ranch land settled in 1871 just outside Kosse. Home to a rich array of cultural heritage resources that includes the historic site of the Hopewell Freedom Colony, the land has blossomed to include the historic preservation training center known as Bassett Farms Conservancy. A 2021 grant from the National Park Service allowed for the launch of PT’s Rural African American Heritage Program on-site, further boosting conservation efforts in the area.

As operations at Bassett Farms continued to grow and thrive, a new need was identified: to educate visitors about the wealth of history in the area. The solution was presented in the acquiring of the 1915 White’s Hardware storefront. From this space, multiple aspects of Conservancy needs could be addressed, while providing much needed public context to PT’s ongoing work at Bassett Farms. They hope to open the Visitor Center in 2023.

For more information on the Bassett Farms Visitors Center and the many projects going on at Bassett Farms Conservancy, visit bassettfarms.org; to learn more about Preservation Texas efforts across the state, visit preservationtexas.org.

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