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First Street Cemetery Project awarded for efforts in preserving Texas cultural and historical resources

First Street Cemetery.JPG
Posted at 3:16 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 16:16:10-04

The First Street Cemetery Memorial Advisory Committee will be presented an Award of Merit by the Texas Historical Commission on Tuesday, August 3.

The Waco cemetery project is being given a THC Preservation Award of Merit for its preservation of Texas cultural and historical resources.

First Street Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Waco, located south of the Brazos River and east of Interstate 35. After the construction of I-35 was completed in the 1960s, Waco developed plans for a Texas Ranger Museum and campground. A court order was issued in 1968, to exhume human remains located in the proposed site and relocate them to another part of the cemetery.

However, as the Texas Ranger Company Headquarters building was being constructed in 2007, human remains were discovered on the site.

The City of Waco, the National Park Service, the THC, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation executed a Memorandum of Agreement and began mitigation efforts. A committee of 16 members was formed and tasked with making recommendations to the City Council in the reburial of the historical remains with appropriate memorial services, plaques, and memorials. The committee members served from 2013 to 2018.

The committee is also being commended for gathering the community's input, as it was able to provide well-rounded feedback in regards to reburial decisions.

City of Waco Assistant City Attorney Annette Jones, Archaeologist and Principal Investigator Nesta Anderson, and Archaeologist Melanie Nichols will be recognized for their significant contributions and public outreach through documentation in the First Street Cemetery project.

A formal presentation, initially postponed due to COVID-19, is scheduled for 6 pm Tuesday during the City of Waco Council Meeting at the Waco Convention Center’s Bosque Theatre.