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The Texas State Cemetery is a cemetery located on about just east of downtown Austinmarker, the capital of Texasmarker. Originally the burial place of Edward Burleson, Texas Revolutionary general and Vice-President of the Republic of Texas, it was expanded into a Confederate cemetery during the Civil War. Later it was expanded to include the graves of prominent Texans and their spouses.

The cemetery is divided into two sections. The smaller one contains around 900 graves of prominent Texans, while the larger has over 2,000 marked graves of Confederate veterans and widows. There is room in the Cemetery for 7,500 interments and the Cemetery is about half full; meaning, people who are eligible for burial have chosen their plots. The Cemetery is not a military cemetery.

Burial guidelines

The current guidelines on who may be buried within the Texas State Cemetery were established in 1953. Persons must be one of the following:
  • Member or ex-member of the Texas Legislature
  • Confederate veteran
  • Elected state official
  • State official appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature
  • Individual designated by governor’s proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Legislature
  • Spouse of anyone meeting the above criteria.
  • Child of an eligible member who has remained in an eleemosynary institution.


History

Texas State Cemetery
After the death of Edward Burleson in 1851, the Texas Legislature arranged for his burial on land formerly belonging to Andrew Jackson Hamilton. In 1854, the Legislature established a monument at Burleson's grave-site for $1,000 and purchased the surrounding land. The burial ground was virtually ignored until the Civil War, when Texas Confederate officers killed in battle were buried there. In 1864 and 1866 more land was purchased for veterans' burials. An area of was also set aside for graves of Union veterans (all but one later removed, to Fort Sam Houston National Cemeterymarker in San Antoniomarker). The remaining Union soldier is Antonio Briones, who was left at the request of his family. He lies by himself in the far northwest corner of the cemetery.

Because the Texas Confederate Men's Home and the Confederate Women's Home were located in Austin, more than 2,000 Confederate veterans and widows are buried at the State Cemetery. Most were buried after 1889. The last Confederate veterans in the Cemetery were buried in 1944; the last widow, in 1963.

In 1932, the State Cemetery was little known and had no roads. There was a dirt road running through the grounds of the Cemetery linked to what was then called Onion Creek Highway. The road kept its highway status when Texas historian Louis Kemp brought it to the attention of the Texas Highway Department that the road running through the Cemetery should be paved. The roads, which are officially designated as State Highway 165, are dedicated to Kemp, and were for a time know as "Lou Kemp Highway". Kemp was also the driving force behind the reinterment of many early Texas figures in time for the Texas Centennial in 1936.

The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, but by the early 1990s, the State Cemetery had fallen into disrepair — suffering from vandalism and decay — and was unsafe to visit. In 1994, after noting the condition of the Cemetery, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock initiated a three-year project that added a visitor center and renovated the cemetery. In 1997, there was a rededication and a reopening of the State Cemetery, and it remains one of the more visited sites in Austin for schoolchildren, adults, and history enthusiasts. Tours are offered and should be scheduled in advance.

The three-person Texas State Cemetery oversees day-to-day operations at the cemetery. Scott Sayers (appointed by Gov. Rick Perry) is chairman. Coley Cowden (Speaker's appointment) and Borah Van Dormolen (Lt. Gov's appointment) also serve. Cemetery superintendent is Harry Bradley. Historian is Jason Walker.

Statistics

As of 2006, buried in the Texas State Cemetery are:

Notable burials





Popular Culture



Gallery

Image:Texas State Cemetery Crescent Pond.jpg|Crescent PondImage:Texas State Cemetery Pond.jpg|Opposite end of the pondImage:Texas State Cemetery September 11 Memorial.jpg|September 11th MemorialImage:Texas State Cemetery Hilltop Flagpole.jpg|Main flagpole, on the HilltopImage:Texas State Cemetery Stephen F Austin statue.jpg|Stephen F. Austin's statueImage:Texas State Cemetery section marker.jpg|A section markerImage:Texas State Cemetery visitors center.jpg|Visitor's centerImage:TexasStateCemeteryBackway.JPG|Texas State Cemetery as seen from East 7th Street

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