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The following information has been provided by
Wanda Bobinger, Curator of the Polk County Memorial Museum.
As we are discovering, many Polk County Cemeteries have already been lost.
 It is for this reason that the Polk County Historical Commission is providing assistance to
obtain and complete the necessary forms for Historic Texas Cemetery Designation.
They can be reached by calling 936-327-8192.


HISTORIC TEXAS CEMETERY DESIGNATION
From the Texas Historical Commission 

Introduction

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is the state agency for Historic Preservation with the responsibility of identifying, protecting, and interpreting our historic resources.  The THC works with interested citizens, county historical commissions and heritage groups to preserve our historic resources, including cemeteries.  Following are instructions that explain the criteria, research methods and documentation necessary to apply for the Historic Texas Cemetery designation.

Background

For many years, the THC has recieved telephone calls and letters from concerned citizens about the preservation of historic cemeteries that are located both in urban and rural settings.  With the expansion of many urban areas, historic cemeteries are increasingly threatened.  Sometimes these cemeteries disappear over a long period of time with the removal of one headstone at a time, while others disappear completely overnight.  In rural areas, historic cemeteries are threatened by the breaking up of large tracts of land for residential development, by the absence of fencing allowing cattle to topple and break up headstones, and by the expansion of cultivated acreage.  Cemeteries often are the last reminder of early settlements whose historical events, religion, lifestyles, and genealogy are threatened and could be lost forever.

Purpose

The Historic Texas Cemetery designation was developed to address the problem of the destruction and illegal removal of historic cemeteries in Texas.  This designation cannot guarantee that a historic cemetery will not be destroyed, but official recognition of these family and community landmarks highlights their importance and promotes an attitude of respect and reverence by neighboring landowners and the general citizenry and will encourage further preservation of these unique resources. (This designation does not restrict in any way the public use or private owner's use of the land adjacent to the cemetery.)

Criteria

Two basic criteria govern the approval for the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation: 
(1)  The cemetery must be at least 50 years old, and (2)  deemed worthy of preservation for its historic associations.  The very nature of a cemetery being a landmark of a family's or community's presence is considered to validate the criteria of historic assiociations.

The Registration Process

Applicant Researches the history of the cemetery, fills out the application, and develops or finds a map for recordation.

Applicant Sumits applications, attachments and processing fee of $25.00 to THC.

THC Staff Reviews the applications and attachments.  THC staff may request additional information.  When all of the material is in order, the staff will review the application and, upon approval, the Affidavit of Designation for Cemetery Purposes will be mailed to the applicant.

Applicant Takes the Affidavit of Designation for Cemetery Purposes to the County Clerk for recording.  The applicant will secure (a) certified copy/ copies of the recorded document indicating the volume and page number or other recordation references and send it/them to the THC.

Certification:  The THC staff will issue the applicant a certificate upon receipt of the certified copy/copies of the recorded Affidavit of Designation for Cemetery Purposes.

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Historic Texas Cemetery Policies are codified in Rules of the 
Texas Historical Commission, Texas Government Code Chapter 442.

For more information contact THC  by mail at PO Box 1276, Austin, TX 78711-2276 or by telephone at (512)-463-6100, fax-(512)475-4872, TDD-1-800-735-2989 or online at www.thc.state.tx.us

(copied verbatim from the THC pamphlet) 

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