Preservation Month: Historic Cemeteries of Arlington, Texas

I wrote this article for the Landmark Preservation Commission and our Historic Preservation Month efforts. It first appeared on the City of Arlington’s website — and I believe it’s the fourth article of mine that they have used!

Preservation Month:
Historic Cemeteries of Arlington, Texas

by Jason S. Sullivan, 05-16-22

May is Preservation Month – a time dedicated to promoting and preserving historic places. An often-overlooked element of historic preservation involves cemeteries. Arlington has nearly twenty cemeteries and many have Texas Historical Markers. The cemeteries range in size from the sprawling Moore Memorial Gardens, with more than 30,000 memorials, to smaller sites with a few hundred burials or less.

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is where you’ll find one of the most extensive combinations of early settlers, veterans, postmasters, and mayors. It contains several small historic graveyards and is adjacent to Parkdale Cemetery. Mattie Luna Cooper (1874-1875), who died shortly before Arlington’s founding in 1876, is the oldest documented burial. Other notable burials include members of the Collins, Cooper, Cravens, and Ditto families, among many others. Recently, waymarking street signs were installed in the cemetery, paying tribute to a few prominent citizens:

  • George W. Finger (1857-1899)
  • W.C. Weeks (1861-1926)
  • Carrie Rogers (1861-1947)
  • William H. Rose (1883-1923)
  • J.W. Dunlop (1922-2006)
Arlington Cemetery – Texas Historical Marker

Johnson Station Cemetery

Johnson Station – an early settlement, ranger station, and trading post – was established in the 1840s by Col. Middleton Tate Johnson. Johnson would become known as the Father of Tarrant County, yet the namesake of Johnson County. The settlement would flourish until the Texas and Pacific Railway came through the area in 1876, a few miles north of the site. Folks began to move closer to the railroad – and the new town of Arlington – and eventually abandoned Johnson Station. Today, the area is part of Arlington. The oldest marked graves in Johnson Station Cemetery date back to the 1860s, although some unmarked ones could be older. There are many pioneer settlers and Civil War veterans buried here.

Johnson Station Cemetery

Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds

The Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds consists of three small historic cemeteries, including the only place in Arlington where Black residents could be buried until the 1950s. Colonel Middleton Tate Johnson, of Johnson Station, is buried here and recognized with a Historical Marker. Recent renovations have improved the grounds with new fencing, gravestone restoration, and deeper historical research. A future project involving QR Codes will allow visitors to learn more through self-guided tours. The cemetery is one of the sites maintained by the Arlington Historical Society – the others being Fielder Museum and Knapp Heritage Park.

Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds
Middleton Tate Johnson: The Father of Tarrant County – Historical Marker

Exploring Local History

While this was only a brief look at three of our cemeteries, they’re all worth exploring. Each one contains pieces of local history and helps tell Arlington’s story. Preservation Month is a perfect time to get out and explore these historic sites.

Arlington Cemeteries with Historical Markers

Arlington has ten cemeteries with Texas Historical Markers:

  • Arlington Cemetery | 801 Mary Street
  • Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds | 600 W. Arkansas Lane
  • Berachah Cemetery | 701 S. Nedderman Drive
  • Gibbins Cemetery | 2209 N. Davis Road
  • Hawkins Cemetery | 5301 Northbound Hwy 287 Access Road
  • Johnson Station Cemetery | 1129 W. Mayfield Road
  • P.A. Watson Cemetery | 1024 N. Watson Road
  • Rehoboth Cemetery | 7300 S. Cooper Street
  • Tate Cemetery | 4200 W. Pleasant Ridge
  • Tomlin Cemetery | 1305 Tomlin Lane

Bonus: The City of Arlington team created this short video and included it with my article, using a few of my photos and text!

City of Arlington YouTube Channel – National Preservation Month: Arlington Cemeteries

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