NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The state's agency that protects our history was in the oldest town in Texas.
Friday's visit by the Texas Historical Commission strengthens the connection between the commission and the communities it helps.
The Old Tobacco Warehouse Events Venue saved a part of historic Texas. So does the Texas Historical Commission. It's only appropriate members meet in the pre-1900s building.
"Well I want to welcome everyone here," said John Nau, the chair of the Texas Historical Commission.
Nau, the CEO of the nation's largest distributor of Anheuser Busch products, has a passion for Texas history.
"I've managed to turn a hobby into a full -time job," Nau said.
The Houstonian's business sense leads commission members when they hit the roads of Texas.
"There's a long term objective behind this, so thank you very much for traveling up here," Nau said.
The objective is to secure more funding at a time when historic preservation is at the bottom of the appropriations list.
"We need to partner up with the Nacogdoches community to help them educate their legislators so we can team up and be more effective with the legislature," Nau said.
East Texas Senator Robert Nichols, a state Finance Committee member advised commission members to select and explain requests for priority items.
"Understanding why you chose those exceptional items and which ones are most important is very helpful," said State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville).
The historical commission was reactive to previous budget cuts. Nau is seeking proactive moves are happening down to getting the last word in before Nichols exits the building.
"One of the great points on our task is that we impact every county and every small town across this state," Nau said. "Heritage tourism is a huge business. It's over $2-billion in the State of Texas alone."
The Texas Historical Commission calls it the Texas mystique. The promotion of that heritage to native Texans and new arrivals will be the historians' mission whether in Austin or Nacogdoches.
The Texas Forest Trail, which operates under the commission, continues to lobby for more funding.
Their budget went from $75,000 to $17,000.
The Texas Forest Trail says they'll put more emphasis on getting funding from communities and private donors.