October 20, 2021 407 PM
MARATHON — Marathon residents are invited to a community open house to learn about the town’s first Historic Resources Survey, taking place during the week of October 18. The “drop-in” open house will take place on Wednesday, October 20, from 6-8 p.m. at the Ritchey Brothers Building. Consultants from McDoux Preservation, LLC will be on hand to answer questions, and printed information will be available in English and Spanish. Refreshments will be served.
McDoux Preservation LLC, a Houston-based historic preservation consulting firm, has been researching Marathon’s history, and owner Steph McDougal and her team of architectural historians are collecting data to determine whether any part of Marathon might be eligible for listing on the National Register as a historic district, or if individual buildings might be eligible. McDougal emphasized that the National Register of Historic Places is an honorary designation and does not restrict property owners in any way, but it can make some properties eligible for tax credits and grants.
McDougal explains that a historic resources survey consists of filling out forms and taking photos, then analyzing the data to identify properties of potential historical significance. The survey team will wear orange reflective vests and remain in the public right-of-way during fieldwork. McDougal notes that it is common for historic resources surveys to document entire small towns, or one or more neighborhoods in larger cities. During the past year, McDoux has completed surveys for the downtown commercial district and a residential neighborhood in Paris, Texas.
Even if McDoux determines that some or all of Marathon could potentially be nominated to the National Register, that does not mean it would happen. A nomination would have to be prepared by McDoux and approved by the Texas Historical Commission. Property owners would be notified by mail, and if more than half of the property owners in a proposed historic district responded to the Texas Historical Commission that they were opposed, the historic district would not be listed on the National Register. McDougal says that, before moving forward with a nomination, she would return to Marathon to hold another community meeting with property owners, providing more information and gathering their feedback.
McDoux previously prepared the nomination that listed the Gage Hotel on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. Gage Hotel owner J.P. Bryan, who is sponsoring this project, is a past president of the Texas State Historical Association and a former commissioner with the Texas Historical Commission. McDougal says that her team is working independently, and Bryan is taking a hands-off approach. “I can’t say whether something might be eligible for the National Register without doing some investigation. We will have to see where the data takes us.”
For more information about the historic resources survey, visit mcdoux.com/marathon.