An item on the Montgomery Economic Development Council’s March 15 agenda regarding the historic Chilton-Dean house prompted discussion from board members on how the city can incentivize historical markers to encourage tourism and enhance public knowledge.

The agenda item, presented by MEDC Secretary Ryan Londeen, was to consider a grant application to the Texas Historical Commission for a historical marker for the Chilton-Dean House, located at 709 College St., Montgomery.

The historic house was built in the early 1850s and owned by Rev. Thomas Chilton, who founded the first Baptist church in Montgomery, according to information from Montgomery ISD.

The cost for the historical marker is $1,175, and the project may begin sometime next year. Historical markers are educational in nature and reveal aspects of local history. Most topics marked must date back at least 50 years, according to city documents.

Montgomery EDC board members agreed that such markers are important to attract tourism and promote the history of Montgomery.

“People are wild for Montgomery history,” City Council Member and MEDC President Rebecca Huss said.

Huss suggested the board could establish a grant program for historical markers to encourage people to go through the process, which can be tedious.

“If we could have a trail of historical markers in the city, I think it could really be beneficial,” she said. “I’m 100% [for] the EDC paying for every Texas historical marker that we can get in the city, because I think it's money that will come back to us in visitors, and ... it's content for brochures; it's content for social media; it's content for things to do.”

Londeen said in a followup email that markers can range from $1,175-$1,875 depending on the size of the marker. At the meeting, he said there are other structures with historical significance throughout the city that are unmarked.

“Most people don’t know about or don’t recognize [them] because they don’t have markers,” he said. “We can do the research to help promote [them].”

City Administrator and MEDC Administrator Richard Tramm said he can begin to allocate funds for this potential grant program for the remainder of this year’s budget or for next year. Board members estimated they may need to budget for about three or four markers in a year, although there may initially be more once the program launches.

“[We should] draw people in to look for markers,” Londeen said. “Montgomery is kind of under told as far as the history that’s here.”