In 1986, the City of Blanco established the Downtown Historic District. This was done in a joint effort to save our Historic Courthouse and the eight blocks that surround the district.
At that time there were 46 structures within the Historic District and 20 of those were put into the National Registry of Historic Places. The Blanco Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC) was revived with 6 commissioners and a one page ordinance.
In 2003 the City of Blanco became concerned about the future growth of Blanco and the lack of a Comprehensive Master Plan to help preserve Blanco’s history and heritage and to help control the growth. The citizens were contacted and surveyed for their interest in doing the work to produce a Master Plan. LCRA and PEC were contacted to help with this survey and it came back showing very high citizen interest and concern that warranted moving forward to develop a Master Plan. Over 100 citizens attended the very first Town Meeting at the Blanco High School cafeteria. They had the opportunity to tell the City Council what they wanted to see and have or not have in Blanco in 10 years. Thus began years of citizens meetings and input. The rest is history!
Downtown Revitalization and Historic Preservation was one of seven tasks to work on. That is when hundreds of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work to take on the listed tasks. BHPC requested that the City of Blanco apply for the Texas Historic Commission (THC) Visionaries in Preservation Program and then began the work to be approved for that program. The City of Blanco then applied for and received the Certified Local Government Status. We were finally approved after 3 years of strengthening the Blanco Historic preservation program the Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plan (BHPAP) was approved.
We now have a strong ordinance with 6 commissioners, and positions for 4 advisor/historians. We presently have one advisor/historian and would love to have volunteers for the other three positions. All of the work produced boxes of papers so in 2013 we voted to have a Blanco Independent School District (BISD) senior, Kristen Bowman, join us to set up files and organize our records. Kristen’s family are long time residents of Blanco and she has a real love for Blanco and her work. She is busy taking Blanco History information back to her fellow students and has invited 4 students and 2 teachers to a workshop on February 15. There they will learn of all the historic resources that they have in the Genealogy/History room of the library. Kristen will be sharing her experience with you in some news articles. When she leaves for college in June she wants to leave a preservation force in BISD. One of these days maybe we will have her oral history in the library.
Our two new commissioners are Jim Harris and Jo Nell Haas. Charles Willgren, Retta Martin, Rudy Nino and J D Sherlock have been commissioners for a few years. Becky Greathouse has been a commissioner and is now our advisor/historian. Becky has been recommended as our Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) and will be voted on at the March City Council meeting for appointment.
The Blanco Historic Preservation Commission welcomes citizens to our meetings which includes time for public comments and questions. Monthly meeting agendas are posted 72 hours prior to the meeting on the City of Blanco website and in the window of Blanco City Hall.
We will continue to move forward with the Comprehensive Master Plan and Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plans and support their updates.