2018 Preservation Summit Educational Sessions

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All educational sessions on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 will be held at the Ringgold Civic Pavilion, 501 East Ringgold Street, Brownsville.  Shuttles will be provided from the Homewood Suites to the Ringgold Civic Pavilion starting at 7:30 am.  Coffee will be provided.  Registration beings at 7:45 am.

8:00 – 8:30 am

Historical Perspectives on Brownsville
Dr. Anthony Knopp, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Anthony Knopp

Do you think you know Brownsville’s history?  Bring your coffee and start the day with an overview of the historical development of Brownsville from the Mexican-American War to the current era.

8:30 – 8:45 am

Welcoming Remarks from Preservation Texas
Ann Benson McGlone, President, Board of Directors (San Antonio)
Nydia Tapia-Gonzales, Member, Board of Directors (Harlingen)
Evan Thompson, Executive Director (Austin)

Ann Benson McGlone

9:00 – 10:00 am (two concurrent sessions)

Birds and Buildings: Adaptive Use Strategies for Nature-Based Tourism
Nydia Tapia-Gonzales, Director, South Texas Nature (moderator)
Andres Flores, Director, Old Hidalgo Pumphouse
Keith Hackland, Owner/Operator, Alamo Inn, B&B, Gear and Tours
Colleen Curran Hook, Manager, Quinta Mazatlan

Nydia Tapia-Gonzales

Andres Flores

Keith Hackland

Colleen Curran Hook

Learn how non-traditional audiences are experiencing historic places in South Texas. Representatives of three adaptive use projects will discuss how historic resources have been saved to support nature-based tourism.  The Quinta Mazatlan, built as a private residence in 1935 in McAllen and one of the largest adobe structures in Texas, is at the center of a 20-acre urban sanctuary and a World Birding Center (WBC) site.  Another WBC site is the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, built in the early 20th century; today it interprets the agricultural history of the region while trails and waterways harbor special South Texas birds and butterflies.  And the Alamo Inn, located in a 1919 building on the town square in Alamo, has been converted to lodging for the many international birding enthusiasts who visit South Texas.


Latino Heritage Conservation: Locating Equity & Social Justice in Preservation
Sarah Zenaida Gould, Lead Curatorial Researcher, UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Sehila Mota Casper, Field Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Sarah Zenaida Gould

Sheila Mota Casper

The speakers will consider the role of social justice in historic preservation, how we can increase equity in historic preservation, and current challenges in preservation policy, education, and recruitment. Comparative case studies will include Rio Vista Farm in Socorro, Texas, recent landmarks in California, activated communities in El Paso and San Antonio, and current efforts to create a protected category for historic murals. The speakers will open the floor to discussion on how we can build alliances with underserved communities in Texas and beyond, and create a vision for a future of historic preservation that connects to multiple campaigns for social justice.

10:00 – 10:15 am 


10:15 – 11:15 am (two concurrent sessions)

National Park Perspectives: Cultural Landscapes
Rolando Garza, Archaeologist/Chief of Resource Management, Palo Alto Battlefield National Park
Julie McGilvray, Cultural Resources Program Manager, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Rolando Garza

Julie McGilvray

Participants will learn about cultural landscapes from the perspective of the National Park Service in Texas. Julie McGilvray from Guadalupe Mountains National Park will present an introductory overview of cultural landscapes, entitled Cultural Landscapes: Systems Thinking for Historic Preservation. Rolando Garza will then focus on strategies for restoring and maintaining the integrity of cultural landscapes through the example of Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.


Bridging the Past and the Present with the Texas Department of Transportation
Rebekah Dobrasko, Historic Preservation Specialist, Texas Department of Transportation
Chris Ringstaff, Staff Archaeologist, Texas Department of Transportation

Rebekah Dobrasko

Chris Ringstaff

Much of our heritage is found in buildings, bridges and other structures lining our streets, while roads themselves contain evidence of the land’s first people. Brainstorm with the Texas Department of Transportation on how you can partner in revealing these hidden histories and tell a unique story of place.  In the spirit of preservation, TxDOT aims to collaborate with tribes, county historical commissions, the Texas Historical Commission, and local organizations to share these stories with the public. Not only does TxDOT wish to give local historians access to our materials for future research, but we want to give communities content they can use in their museum, website, or exhibits.  This session will introduce TxDOT as a resource and producer of history-related content and will explore ways that TxDOT can partner with you to produce public history projects that have a life beyond the transportation process.

11:15 – 11:30 am


11:30 am – 12:00 pm (two concurrent sessions)

Restoring Brownsville’s Historic Resacas: A Deep History View of the Old Distributaries of the Rio Grande River Delta
Dr. Jude Benavides, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Jude Benavides

Dr. Benavides will discuss his work restoring and protecting critically important historic watersheds that are an essential part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s landscape.  He will also present the Rio Grande River delta’s distributary river network from a geological and hydrographical perspective.  The Rio Grande River delta remains one of the world’s most understudied deltas and presently faces a host of anthropogenic and environmental challenges.  Brownsville area resacas are a critical component of this thousands year old delta that serve vital functions to our water resources, ecological habitat, and cultural and historic heritage.


Historic Tax Credits and Tax Reform
Anna Mod, MacRostie Historic Advisors

Anna Mod

The federal tax reform bill passed before the end of 2017 and the 20% federal historic tax credit (HTC) was retained with some changes. This session is an overview of the historic tax credit program and new language in the law, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, and the submittal process. Several case studies will also be presented and how the program can be combined with the State of Texas 25% Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Enjoy a box lunch and take a walk to the nearby Gladys Porter Zoo and enjoy the City of Brownsville-owned zoological and botanical park.  Opened in 1971, it welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year.

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm (two concurrent sessions)

Unlocking the Hidden Secrets of South Texas Ranching
Christopher Rincon, Executive Director, The River Pierce Foundation

Christopher Rincon

An intimate look into a decades long journey to preserve a Mexican ranch settlement on the lower Rio Grande in Zapata County. By pulling together different disciplines to research the cultural background of a community like San Ygnacio, a unique and complex story unfolds about vernacular architecture, ranching traditions, geopolitical struggles and immigration. The River Pierce Foundation is a recent participant in this process of Cultural Resource Management, but because of its unorthodox approach, they live up to their motto of “Crossing borders of awareness, but bringing awareness to the border.”


Texas Courthouses of the Modern Era
Anna Mod, MacRostie Historic Advisors

Anna Mod

The Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Courthouse program has restored and rehabilitated many courthouses statewide and renewed civic pride in these important examples of civic architecture. Representative examples of modern era courthouses have not yet applied to the program despite eligibility. This session is an overview of Texas’ modern era courthouses, their National Register of Historic Places eligibility, and their importance in the continuum of Texas architecture.

2:00 – 2:30 pm (two concurrent sessions)

Envisioning Brownsville: Design Proposals for a Vibrant and Diverse Downtown
Dr. Murad Abusalim, Texas Southmost College

Dr. Murad Abusalim

Revitalization of historic downtowns has been associated with diversity and mixture to create vibrant and attractive places for residence and visitors alike. A collection of specific design proposals for Downtown Brownsville by students from Texas Southmost College Architecture Program explore the making of “spaces” that promote social interaction and a sense of community and evoke multi-sensory experiences.


Texas Preservation Trust Fund Grant Projects in South Texas
Sara Luduena, Project Reviewer, Texas Historical Commission

Sara Luduena

This session will focus on projects in South Texas that received grants through the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Preservation Trust Fund program. What sorts of grants are available and awarded, what made these applications successful, and what advice participants have for potential applicants.

2:30 – 2:45 pm


2:45 – 4:00 pm

Preservation Summit Closing Forum
Moderated by Amy Hammons, CHC Outreach Coordinator, Texas Historical Commission

Amy Hammons

Preservation Texas has a variety of goals in mind when developing its Preservation Summit. One of these goals is to provide a forum that encourages participants to share experiences and ideas. To this end, join fellow Summit attendees as we compare how our individual preservation successes and challenges relate to those presented during Summit tours and sessions. We’ll share perspectives about ongoing projects across the state, and find out how experiences created in this year’s Summit have changed perspectives about south Texas and preservation, in general.

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