From vintage Victorians to quaint bungalows, Ellis County architecture is a source of pride for area residents, but owning historic property can present unique challenges.

Whether you are a property owner or just have an interest in learning about historic architecture, Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning will offer a class beginning March 7 that will guide you through identifying the style, strategies for restoration, researching property history and how to apply for historic designations.

The class will meet from 6:30-7:30 p.m. three consecutive Mondays, March 7-28. Becky Kauffman, Larry Felty and Mendy Autry, Historic Waxahachie Inc. board members, will serve as instructors. Classes will be held at Waxahachie High School and the cost for the series is $15.

“We want to help property owners understand how to apply for the city’s tax abatement program, which requires proper restoration to the exterior that can be seen from the street. Understanding the characteristics of the period of their property and how to identify them will help a lot. In some cases, they may want to apply for an HWI marker and we will touch on that – and also the other historical markers available for certain properties,” Kauffman said.

From researching property by legal description to finding original construction details to learning about the previous owners, instructors will offer tips to enlighten individuals about the unique social and architectural history of their property.

“We will give them good pointers on research, which is strongly suggested before restoration begins. The last class will hopefully give them pointers on proper do’s and don’ts to keep the period look,” Kauffman said. “We feel that this not only preserves the historic nature of our lovely city, but protects property values, too.”

Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning is a cooperative effort between Waxahachie ISD, the Texas A&M Extension Agency, Master Gardeners and other individuals, organizations and businesses in the community.

Spring semester classes begin Feb. 21 and course catalogs are available at businesses throughout the community, at the Waxahachie Daily Light, local libraries, chambers of commerce and are being distributed to WISD elementary students to take home.

Online registration with credit card payment is available at http://WISD.revtrak.net. To pay with cash or check, students can register in person or by mail at 411 N. Gibson St. Registration is accepted from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For individuals who can’t fit on-site classes into their busy schedules, an online program offers an extensive selection of courses at www.ed2go.com/lighthouse. Click on the orientation link and follow the instructions to enroll and pay for the course.

For additional information, contact Melissa Cobb at mcobb@wisd.org or call 972-923-4631, ext. 142.

Contact Rebecca at rhertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.