The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

March 30, 2010

County to receive ‘Preserve America’ designation at reception

HUNTSVILLE — Walker County was recently honored by First Lady Michelle Obama as a “Preserve America Community,” one of only 21 local governments in the nation to receive the designation this year.

The honor is a celebration of the rich history of the County as well as the many preservation efforts throughout the community.

“It is an honor for the community, a reflection of the good work of many people at the neighborhood, city, and county level,” Walker County Judge Danny Pierce said.

The designation was recommended by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and made official shortly thereafter in a letter from the White House to County Judge Danny Pierce.

After thanking community leaders for their “vision and dedication,” Mrs. Obama noted that these efforts not only strengthened Walker County, but also “strengthened our country.” 

The county’s designation was the culmination of an eight-month application process surveying the community’s rich history, its efforts in preservation and restoration, and its proactive endeavors at historical education.

The Walker County Commissioners Court unanimously passed Resolution 2009-23 on August 10th, 2009, committing to “protect and celebrate our heritage…and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.”

The resolution was a pre-condition of applying for the White House designation, and was soon followed by a formal application that included numerous letters of support from leading city, county, state, and federal officials.

The application emphasized the work of the entire community, highlighting:

• The adaptive reuse of the Wynne Home.

• The community’s support of five local museums.

• Opportunities for “children to learn about local heritage.”

• The work of the Walker County Historical Commission.

• The work of Huntsville Main Street.

 After requesting additional information, the Advisory Council, the First Lady, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce approved Walker County’s application. 

The benefits of the designation include: White House recognition; eligibility to apply for Preserve America Grants; a certificate of recognition; a Preserve America Community road sign; authorization to use the Preserve America logo on signs, flags, banners, and promotional materials; listing in a Web-based Preserve America Community directory; inclusion in national and regional press releases; official notification of designation to state tourism offices and visitors bureaus; and enhanced community visibility and pride. Preserve America Communities are also featured in National Register Travel Itineraries and in “Teaching with Historic Places” curricular material created by the National Park Service.

The Preserve America Designation will be announced officially at the reception for the Political Science Junior Fellows’ “Huntsville: Then & Now” third annual photographic exhibit, held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. today at the Katy and E. Don Walker Sr. Education Center.

The exhibit, featuring more than 350 historic and contemporary photographs of locations along Sam Houston Avenue, will include a short program at 6 p.m. during which a representative from Congressman Kevin Brady’s office will officially present the County Commissioners with a “Preserve America Community” certificate from First Lady Michelle Obama.

The event is open to the public. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

For more information about the Preserve America Community designation, contact Judge Danny Pierce at

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