The Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street Handbook, wrote, “. . . Granbury is renowned across the state as a shining example of a dying town that made a comeback.”
With the adoption of the Historic Landmark and District Zoning Ordinance, the City of Granbury has committed efforts to restore and promote the historic character of the city. The ordinance establishes two Historic Preservation Overlays encompassing the entryways and neighborhoods surrounding the courthouse square as well as a Historic Preservation Commission to review adopted policy and development practices. The Commission, comprised of historic merchants and homeowners, has created specific design guidelines utilized to direct historic preservation within the preservation overlays. Public meetings are routinely held to discuss the direction of historic preservation in relation to the adopted Historic Preservation Plan.
The City of Granbury and Historic Preservation Commission work closely with numerous community organizations in preserving the historic integrity of the city. The Historic Granbury Merchants Association, Hood County Historical Society, Lake Granbury Area Chamber of Commerce and the Granbury Cemetery Board are only a few of the involved associations necessary to continue the preservation of the historic district.
The City of Granbury, local residents and community organizations are committed to preserving the historic identity of the city by implementing sound policy and strategic planning initiatives.
History of Preservation
The City of Granbury’s identity relies heavily on its ability to preserve and promote Texas history. Granbury’s unique sense of place and historic integrity attract visitors and residents alike. The Historic Preservation Commission has developed public planning and policy initiatives to promote sustainable growth by enhancing the quality of life, increasing economic vitality and developing community identity through historic preservation.
In 1970, struggling downtowns throughout the nation began to reface, remodel or raze many of the historic buildings of the community to make way for the architectural styling of the time. A small group of far-sighted leaders took an assessment of Granbury’s natural attributes and began an initiative to preserve and build upon the architectural integrity of the past. In 1972, the city enacted a zoning ordinance declaring the courthouse square a ‘historic district’ thereby protecting Granbury’s 19th century structures. The historic Hood County Courthouse, surrounding storefronts and neighboring residences are only a few of the many protected structures.
Preservation is an integral part of the city's housing, economic development and tourism programs. In 2001, the City Council updated the City of Granbury Zoning Ordinance to expand the original ‘historic district’ by creating two Historic Preservation Overlay’s encompassing the entryways and neighborhoods surrounding the courthouse square. With the adoption of the new Historic Landmark and District Zoning Ordinance, these overlays provide the city with a means of influencing future development with an interest in preserving historic integrity.
The City of Granbury has received more than $45,000 in grants to develop preservation design guidelines administered by the Granbury Historic Commission. Granbury has repeatedly dedicated hotel-motel tax receipts as well as a portion of their general revenue fund in recognition and promotion of tourism with respect to Granbury’s economic development. Granbury has also created a historic landmark program, which currently offers 17 designated historic landmarks, including the most recent designation of the 1952 Brazos Drive-In Theater.
Public planning and historic preservation policy initiatives have stimulated private, non-profit organizations to invest in the revitalization of the central business district. Many of Granbury’s historic buildings have been rehabilitated and preserved by private businesses and individuals. The Hood County Historical Society, Historic Granbury Merchants Association, and Lake Granbury Area Chamber of Commerce have contributed to the preservation of Granbury’s historic identity. The city also works closely with a non-profit board of directors to preserve the 1886 Granbury Opera House, which attracts thousands of visitors downtown annually.
Efficient planning and the implementation of effective policies have significantly contributed to the revitalization of the local economy and will continue to promote sustainable growth and uphold the historic integrity of the community.
Awards & Recognition
The City’s efforts to develop efficient policy and invest in historic preservation and tourism have not gone unrecognized. In 1974, Granbury’s town square was the first in Texas to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. Beginning in 1986 with the publication of the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street Handbook, Granbury’s historic preservation achievements and heritage tourism programs have been used as models throughout the state. “Brought back to life by a group of concerned and dedicated local citizens, Granbury is often referred to as Texas’ original ‘Main Street’ city, says the commission’s handbook. Numerous accolades have been awarded to the city and its citizens for historic preservation and tourism promotion. Granbury’s courthouse square was named the “Best Town Square in Texas” by the readers of Texas Highways magazine in 1998. CNN featured Granbury as “Small Town America” during its worldwide millennium broadcast. As the only small town in the United States to be featured by CNN, the city received approximately 12 minutes of international publicity highlighting Granbury as a charming, historic Texas town. The International Festival and Events Association honored Granbury with a Gold Pinnacle Award for publicity the community received. The Texas Historical Commission awarded the citizens of Granbury the Ruth Lester Award for Meritorious Service in Historic Preservation for the redevelopment of the courthouse square. In 2000, Jeannine Macon, one of Granbury’s early preservation leaders, was honored by the Texas Downtown Association as “Downtowner of the Year” for her many years of preservation and downtown revitalization work. In 2001, Granbury won the Texas Municipal League’s City Spirit Award for Economic Development through Heritage Tourism. In 2002, the Texas Downtown Association awarded Granbury its Best Downtown Management Program designation for the city’s Preservation Plan. In the same year, Granbury was awarded as one of “Texas’ Best Places” by the Texas Architects publication. The Granbury Convention and Visitors Bureau has received six tourism marketing awards from the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and four special event marketing awards from the Texas Festival and Events Association. In May 2004, Granbury was honored as a recipient of the Preserve America Community Award.