The Historic Texas Cemetery(HTC) designation is state program that documents a cemetery which is over 50 years old. The designation helps protect historic cemeteries and serves to alert present and future landowners who own property adjacent to the cemetery of its existence by recording cemetery boundaries in county deed records. For more information on the program, see the Texas Administrative Code Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 22, Rule 22.6. Laws regarding cemeteries are in the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 711.
The HTC designation is the first step toward the preservation of a historic cemetery. Anyone can file an HTC application directly with the Texas Historic Commission (THC). The Collin County Historical Commission can also assist with the process. The application can be found on the THC's website here.
Restoration and Cleaning Gravestones and Monuments
The second step in the preservation of a historic cemetery is the restoration of the grounds and cleaning and repairing gravestones and monuments. Before starting the restoration project, get permission from the lot or space owner or the cemetery association, if possible. Take pictures of each stone that needs work and decide whether the work should be done by a professional or can be done by a well-trained volunteer.
Consult these resources:
Some highlights are:
- Do not apply Portland cement, harmful chemicals, or sealants.
- Never sandblast a grave marker or spray it with an excessive force of water.
- Do not use bleach, other oxidizing cleaners, or strong acids like muriatic or hydrochloric acid.
- Only use soft bristle brushes with unpainted wooden handles.
- Do not sink stones in concrete.
- Do not use metal bolts or braces.
- Inexperienced volunteers should get training from conservator before resetting a monument.