The Texas State Cemetery is located between East Seventh and Eleventh Streets. The main entrance is actually on Navasota Street through the middle of the Visitor Center . This building was designed to resemble the barracks at the Alamo and contains a display about our state’s history.
This cemetery was established in the 1850s as the “state burying ground.” Its 18 acres were renovated in the 1990s and are quite lovely. A tranquil stone-lined pond winds through the center. Mature trees and Texas flags dot the landscape. There’s plenty of shade, even on a sunny day.
Former elected state officials or legislators are eligible to be interred here, as well as appointees who served at least 10 years in office. The governor or legislature may also approve special requests for burial.
Spouses of eligible Texans can be buried here, too. For example, former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is still living, but her husband is already here.
The graves of many famous Texas politicians can be found in this cemetery, including Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and John Connally. President (and Texas Governor) George W. Bush has indicated that he will be buried here.
Accomplishments of the deceased are often etched into the backs of the tombstones. Various Austin buildings and streets are named in honor of some of these people, so reading about their history is interesting.
Beloved University of Texas football coach Darrell K. Royal has one of the more unusual tombstones, complete with a T-ring.
The Texas State Cemetery includes a few cenotaph monuments (empty graves). For example, Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry is actually buried in Dallas, but is remembered here with a cenotaph.
Rows of small white grave markers are lined up in Confederate Field, which takes up about a third of the cemetery. Most of those buried here were residents of the Confederate Men’s and Women’s Home in Austin.
A bright-white monument to Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston was designed by sculptor, Elizabet Ney. She also created the statues of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin that stand in the lobby of the Texas State Capitol.
And Stephen F. Austin himself is buried in this cemetery.
Monument Hill—an actual hill—occupies the northeast corner of the cemetery. The monuments include: 9/11 (pictured above), Vietnam Memorial, War of 1812, and Purple Heart.
The Texas State Cemetery combines a peaceful, park-like setting with a heavy dose of Texas history…definitely worth a visit!
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