HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR HISTORIC PROPERTY

Congrats, you own a historic home or property! Now comes the fun part (besides fixing it up): learning all about it.

Historic Fort Worth’s Preservation Resource Center (PRC) is located in the basement of the 1899 Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House at 1110 Penn Street. The archives contain thousands of files on properties included in the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey, which became the property of HFW in 1998.  Also housed in our collection are books on preservation and Fort Worth history, files of surveys conducted by HFW, historic photos, maps, and information on people who have contributed to our city’s rich history.

The PRC is open to the public for research by appointment Monday through Friday between 9:30am and 5:00pm. Contact us by phone or email: 817.336.2344 x113 or prc@historicfortworth.org. Our archives are a great place to start your research, but you can also find information through these resources:

The Tax Assessor’s Office in the Tarrant County Administration Buildings houses tax history cards. These cards, first created in the 1930s, can provide a shortcut for finding the early owners of your house, as well as information about when improvements were made, and your property’s construction materials.

You can verify early owners by looking through deed records in the County Clerk’s Office in the basement of the Tarrant County Courthouse. You can also search here for Mechanic’s Liens. These can reveal the name of the contractor and/or architect that designed or constructed your house.

The Genealogy and Local History Department of the downtown branch of the Fort Worth Public Library has nearly a complete run of City Directories from 1926 to the present. Most of the directories are divided into two main parts, an alphabetical listing of residents, and a list of addresses that are organized alphabetically and numerically by street name and address.

Historic photographs (and even old postcards) can provide invaluable information about a house and its appearance at a given time. These can be found in a variety of places including the public library, the Tarrant County Historical Commission, the North Fort Worth Historical Society, the Star-Telegram archives located in the Special Collections Division at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries (UTA), other university archives, newspapers, and from family members of former owners.

The City of Fort Worth Preservation Staff may be able to direct you to original permits for your building and other materials that might have ended up in the City’s records.

And you’re always welcome to share what you find with us. We’re always excited to learn more about Fort Worth buildings!

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