About Downtown Killeen
Bordered on the North by Rancier Avenue (FM 439) and on the South by Veterans Memorial Boulevard (Business 190), Downtown Killeen is centrally located in the heart of the city right outside of Fort Hood's East Gate. The historic core of downtown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is where the City's story began over 125 years ago. Come experience some of the original developments built in the late 1800s when the railroad first came to town. Visit the restored Santa Fe Depot now housing the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, or take a stroll along Avenue D and imagine the City of Killeen's first hardware store, blacksmith shop, saloons and general stores. The streets were bustling with excitement and downtown had everything you needed.
Unique to the City of Killeen, downtown also features an array of mid-century development highlighting the second boom in our history when the The Great Place of Fort Hood was established in 1950. This event expanded the footprint of downtown to include new and exciting buildings with innovative structural designs and dramatic features. In just a few historic blocks you can experience both periods of growth in our history and enjoy the unique and authentic environment that Downtown Killeen has to offer. Visit downtown today and explore where our story began.
History of Killeen
City Hall Building Listed in National Register
The building which houses Killeen City Hall is now included in the National Register of Historic Places. The Texas Historical Commission nominated the site for its architectural and historical significance, and it was selected for the national listing.
The building is officially listed in the Register as Killeen High School as it was named when completed in 1924, but most knew it as Avenue D School. It was Killeen’s only school from its opening until the 1940s. All grades attended classes in the building. It transitioned to an elementary school in 1949 and remained so until 1981.
It was actually the second public school built on the site. The first was built in 1902 but was destroyed by fire in 1923. It was replaced by the current structure, which opened to students February 1, 1924. Designed by C.H. Leinbach, the school is a more modern take on collegiate Gothic style and is one of the few pre-World War II buildings in existence outside the Downtown Historic District.
Repurposing as City Hall
The City of Killeen acquired the school building in 1993, and opened it as City Hall in 1995. While modified for its current use, much of the original structure remains intact including its red brick façade, boy’s and girl’s entrance markers and wood floors. Another interesting feature is the repurposing of the school’s cafetorium for use as City Council Chambers.
The City of Killeen has made an asserted effort to preserve history in the community. The Killeen Downtown Historic District, also listed in the National Register, is located between Avenue B and Santa Fe Plaza and North 4th Street to North 8th Street though many historic properties stretch beyond these bounds. Through a Downtown Plan, historic overlay district, design guidelines and incentives and grants, the City hopes to encourage revitalization and preserve Killeen’s historic resources for future generations.
About the National Register
The National Register of Historic Places is a program of the National Park Service. It is the nation’s official list of historically significant properties that are worthy of preservation. Killeen’s school building joins more than 3,100 sites in Texas and more than 80,000 in the United States.
Downtown Killeen Listed in National Register of Historic Places
The Killeen Downtown Historic District has achieved listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The area has been recognized for its historical and architectural significance to the city and country.
The district is roughly bounded by Santa Fe Plaza, Avenue B, 4th Street and 8th Street. It is almost completely commercial in nature and features buildings built between 1895 and 1960. Historically significant properties range from a late 19th century Romanesque Revival bank to early 20th century stone and brick commercial buildings to early postwar modern offices and stores. Several churches also contribute to the area's historic significance.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation and includes more than 3,000 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from the possible impact of federally funded projects, technical expertise and grant funds for restoration and preservation and federal tax benefits for rehabilitation of certain properties.
The Heritage Preservation Board, and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board all play a vital role in guiding downtown development efforts. All Killeen residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and be a voice in the community and in the future of Downtown Killeen.
View more information on these boards and meeting agendas here.
Federal Certified Local Government Designation
The City of Killeen was accepted into the Certified Local Government (CLG) program by the United State Department of Interior in 2010. Killeen joined the ranks of only 66 cities and counties in the state to earn the designation. The CLG program is a local, state and federal government partnership for historic preservation. It is designed to help cities and counties protect a wide range of historic properties, from ornate churches to working-class neighborhoods, through high standards of preservation.
The program offers preservation grant assistance allowing city and county governments to develop and sustain an effective local preservation program critical to preserving local historic resources. Other benefits of the program include professional recognition, technical assistance and an information network. Since its designation in the program, the City of Killeen has been awarded three CLG grants that further the City’s preservation program through nominating the downtown district to the National Register of Historic Places, developing outreach videos on the history of Killeen, and conducting a city-wide historic resources windshield survey.
For more information on the national CLG program, please visit the National Park Service website.
Invest in Historic Downtown Killeen
Find out what incentives are offered:
To list your available property/properties for sale or lease, located in the Historic Downtown District, please complete the Available Property Form.
For questions and more information, please contact the Revitalization Planner at 254-501-7641.