It is Official - Yoakum Commercial Historic District
The U.S. National Park Service weekly list of new additions to the National Register included the Yoakum Commercial Historic District. The October 29 announcement culminated nearly three years of effort by the Yoakum EDC, consultant Rebecca Borchers, the Texas Historical Commission (THC), summer intern Jesse Berger and others. The district encompasses 132 buildings and structures bounded by Nelson and West Streets, N. South and Forest Streets. A link to the district map can be found on the YokumEDC.com web site under Why Choose Yoakum/Downtown.
The National Register District process required several steps. A historic resources survey of approximately 25 square blocks was conducted from April 2017 - March 2018. The survey included 152 commercial and residential buildings and structures approximately 50 years of age located in or adjacent to the downtown. It included the Mergenthal House on East Gonzales, buildings along N. South Street, the former TexTan leather factory complex on Hickey Street, the 1971 Yoakum National Bank building, and the former tomato processing warehouse, now the city transfer station, on Dunn Street. A link to the final Historic Resources Survey is also on YoakumEDC.com.
After final approval of the Historic Resources Survey and the proposed historic district boundaries, the National Register nomination began. This was a deep-dive into the historical context of downtown Yoakum. Meticulous detail required more than 12 months of work and included a historical narrative of Yoakum, architectural descriptions of each resource, photographs and maps. After approval by the State Board of Review which included experts in history, architecture and archeology from around the state, the nomination was submitted to the National Park Service. While Rebecca had led individual building nominations previously, the state board approved the nomination with congratulations to Rebecca on her first district nomination.
The survey and nomination should be used to provide direction for the preservation of Yoakum’s historic assets, as a resource for building owners and investors, and as a tool that gives the community greater awareness and pride in its cultural assets. “Contributing” resources are eligible for a National Register plaque, and state and federal tax credits. The three volume Historic Resources Survey and the National Register nomination is available for reference at City Hall and at the Carl & Mary Welhausen Public Library.