Cemeteries are an important part of preserving the history and culture of a community, as well as providing a place where people can come together to reflect and honor their loved ones who have passed away.
Cemeteries help preserve the past by allowing individuals to express themselves through the way they build their graves or mausoleums, which can be very personal. Some people may choose to leave their loved ones’ names on their tombstones, while others might choose not to include names at all.
When you look at the history of how these graveyards became places where loved ones were laid to rest, you begin to understand why many people prefer them over newer towns with not enough room for remains. This article will take you to all those different old cemeteries found in the state of Texas.
10. Houston National Cemetery
Year Established: 1965
Location: 10410 Veterans’ Memorial Drive, Harris County
Area: 419.2 acres
photo source: cem.ca.gov
December 7, 1965 was the dedication of the Houston Veterans Administration Cemetery. In the 1960s, it was the only federal cemetery built in the United States. At the time of its creation, the current Houston National Cemetery was the biggest of its type.
9. Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery
Year Established: 1931
Location: 1101 Antoine, Houston
Architect/Founder: Dionicio Rodriguez
Area: 34.8 acres
photo source: tclf.org
The cemetery was built on the then-dirt-surfaced Katy Road in 1931 on farmland on the outskirts of Houston because farmers had to herd their cattle away from funerals, as per general manager Lynda Seaman.
Originally intended for upright headstones, the layout of what is now known as Woodlawn Cemetery, which is situated near the intersection of Antoine Drive and the Katy Freeway, was planned with twisting roadways.
8. Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Year Established: 1926
Location: 1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd., San Antonio
Architect/Founder: Huitt-Zollars (expansion)
Area: 338 acres
photo source: tclf.org
One of the seven national cemeteries built as part of the National Cemetery System development between the World Wars, notably between 1934 and 1939, was the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, which is located next to the Fort Sam Houston Military Post in San Antonio, Texas.
Despite the establishment of the local army station in 1875 and the start of Fort Sam Houston’s construction the following year, no burials took place in the region that is now the cemetery until 1926. San Antonio National Cemetery had an expansion of 60 acres (24 hectares) in 1931.
7. San Antonio National Cemetery
Year Established: 1867
Location: 517 Paso Hondo St., San Antonio
Architect/Founder: Federal Government
Area: 3.7 acres
photo source: cem.va.gov
In order to construct their own burial sites, church groups and fraternal organizations purchased portions of the newly established East Side Cemetery, which the city of San Antonio had established in 1853. San Antonio National Cemetery was established in 1867 when one of these plots was granted to the federal government.
The cemetery occupies the majority of a square city block that is bordered to the north by Center Street, to the west by South Monumental Street, and to the south by Paso Hondo Street. The national cemetery’s eastern border is marked by a section of the city cemetery.
The grounds are completely surrounded by a four-foot-tall, four-foot-wide stone wall that was constructed in 1939.
6. Fort Bliss National Cemetery
Year Established: 1863
Location: Fort Bliss Military Reservation, El Paso County
Architect/Founder: US Army
Area: 82 acres
photo source: elpasomatters.org
The Fort Bliss Military Reservation includes the roughly 82-acre Fort Bliss National Cemetery. The fort began recording graves in 1863, and the first one was discovered there in October 1866.
At the south end of the bigger cemetery, a 2-acre post graveyard was founded in 1893 and is separated from it by a stone wall built in 1914.
5. Old San Antonio City Cemeteries Historic District
Year Established: 1853
Location: S New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio
Architect/Founder: San Antonio Government
Area: 103 acres
photo source: Wikipedia
The oldest cemeteries in San Antonio are located in a 103-acre complex known as the Old San Antonio City Cemeteries Historic District, often called the Eastside Cemetery Historic District. These cemeteries were all built between 1853 and 1904.
The separate cemeteries in the area used to be a portion of a larger plot of land that the City of San Antonio divided into smaller pieces and sold to nearby churches and other groups to be utilized as their own cemetery.
4. The Texas State Cemetery
Year Established: 1851
Location: 901 Navasota Street, Austin
Architect/Founder: Texas State
Area: 18 acres
photo source: thelagroup.com
Between Navasota and Comal streets, the Texas State Cemetery is about a mile east of the State Capitol and spans 18 acres. For those who have made a major contribution to Texas, the cemetery offers a last resting place.
Two portions make it to the cemetery. While the bigger one includes over 2,000 designated graves of Confederate warriors and widows, the smaller one has about 900 burials of notable Texans. After taking into account the burial sites chosen by those who qualify for burial, the cemetery, which has space for 7,500 interments, is nearly half filled.
3. Pioneers Rest
Year Established: 1850
Location: 620 Samuels Ave, Fort Worth
Architect/Founder: Texas State
Area: 6 acres
photo source: Waymarking
The first and oldest cemetery in Fort Worth was Pioneers’ Rest Cemetery, which was established in 1850. It functioned as the fort’s burial ground and was opened a year after Camp Worth military post (later known as Fort Worth) was built on a hill overlooking the meeting of the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River.
2. Old Bayview Cemetery
Year Established: 1845
Location: 805 Comanche Corpus Christi
Architect/Founder: Messrs. Cameron and Ralston
Area: 3.5 acres
photo source: findagrave.com
Texas’s first federal military burial ground is located at Old Bayview Cemetery. The American-Mexican War was the starting point for the burial site.General Zachary Taylor’s Army of Occupation built a base camp in the vicinity of Corpus Christi early in the conflict. It was obvious that the camp required a designated burial site, therefore this location was picked.
1. Oakwood Cemetery
Year Established: 1839
Location: 1601 Navasota Street, Austin
Architect/Founder: Charles Page (Oakwood Cemetery Chapel)
Area: 157 acres
photo source: oakwoodcemetery.org
The oldest cemetery in Texas is Oakwood Cemetery, which was once known as City Cemetery.
The cemetery was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and its annex was included on October 30, 2003. It was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1972. In 1983, state and local laws were passed to preserve the view of the Texas State Capitol from Comal Street in the middle of the cemetery as one of the Capitol View Corridors.
Despite this protection, the cemetery has long been a target of crime, vandalism, and degradation.