THC announces new historic Texas cemetery medallion

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has created a new medallion marker to recognize designated Historic Texas Cemeteries. The medallion is a 10-inch cast aluminum marker with the words, “Historic Texas Cemetery’Texas Historical Commission” encircling a central star, a rose and a cypress branch. It is available only to cemeteries with the Historic Texas Cemetery designation, which requires that they be at least 50 years old and deemed worthy of preservation for historical associations. An application process is used to determine eligibility for the designation. “The designation and the medallion are tools that will increase public awareness of these important cultural resources,” said Larry Oaks, executive director of the THC. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of a cemetery.” The Historic Texas Cemetery Program was developed to address the destruction of historic cemeteries and the illegal removal of cemetery fixtures. Threats to historic cemeteries include urban expansion and development, vandalism, grazing animals and long-term deterioration from forces of nature, such as weathering and uncontrolled vegetation. The designation and medallion encourage cemetery preservation, but cannot guarantee protection of the cemetery. “Historic cemeteries serve as directories of early residents and reflect the cultural influences that helped shape our state’s communities,” Oaks said. “This program brings attention to these community treasures and recognizes the importance of their preservation.” Previously, cemeteries of historical importance were recognized with Official Texas Historical Subject Markers. In the future, the THC will honor these cemeteries with the new Historic Texas Cemetery medallion and optional interpretive plaques in place of a subject marker. For more information contact Ned Coleman at (512) 463-6427 or ned.coleman@thc.state.tx.us.

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