Both Local and National Register Historic Districts are geographically-defined areas possessing a significant concentration of buildings united by their history and/or architecture.

National Register Historic Districts

A district possesses a significant concentration of sites, buildings, structures or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development. The importance of a district lies in the collection of buildings that reflects the social and architectural history of the area.

In Texas, the National Register of Historic Places listing process is administered by the Texas Historical Commission.

Review of Work in National Register Districts

The City's Historic Landmark Commission reviews building, site, demolition and relocation permits within national register historic districts in an effort to retain the historic integrity and defining architectural characteristics of the City's designated historic areas. The City Historic Preservation Office staff can provide assistance and guidance on the City Historic Landmark Commission's design review process. Staff are also available to meet with property owners early in the early planning stages of a project to provide advice on how to design changes and additions. The City Historic Preservation Office can administratively approve minor projects if the applicable design guidelines are met. All other permits require City Historic Landmark Commission review.

Additional Information

Austin properties located in National Register Historic Districts. More information on the review process is available in the Application for Review of a Permit Within a National Register Historic District.

District Maps

Historic Districts

The Historic District offers the strongest protection and greatest benefit for older neighborhoods through design standards and review. Properties in Historic Districts are indicated by the addition of "HD" in the zoning designation for each parcel.

Find historic district application information here.

According to the National Park Service, historic districts are one of the oldest forms of protection for historic properties. The city of Charleston, South Carolina is credited with beginning the modern-day historic districts movement when, in 1931, it enacted an ordinance designating an "Old and Historic District" which was administered by a Board of Architectural Review. In December 2004, the Austin City Council authorized the establishment of historic districts. These districts provide the most powerful tool to protect the character of our historic neighborhoods. Historic districts are comprised of two types of properties: contributing and non-contributing. Broadly defined, a contributing property is any property, structure or object which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make a historic district significant. In general, contributing properties are integral parts of the historic context and character of a historic district. The City of Austin's historic districts are:

Benefits of Historic Districts

  • Protecting areas of  historical significance through Historic Landmark Commission review of demolition, relocation and building permits using design standards created for the neighborhood and adopted by the City Council
  • Providing a city property tax abatement to promote rehabilitation of contributing buildings and non-contributing buildings if the project will restore them to contributing status
  • Application for Tax Abatement for Rehabilitation of Property in a Historic District
  • Encouraging better design
  • Retaining an existing house, which is a good conservation practice and saves energy
  • Maintaining our cultural heritage
  • Resulting in a positive economic impact from tourism

For more information on each district visit the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Historic Sites Atlas.