Deep in the heart of Texas, the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation has restored numerous historic cemeteries in Plano, and it has also undertaken or assisted on projects in Richardson and Frisco in its past 15 years. One of the challenges of cemetery restoration is engaging young people and their families; most cemetery volunteers tend to be adults. So how do you engage young people to take part in cemetery restoration without resorting to ghostly or Halloween-type tactics? Here at the Plano Conservancy, we brainstormed – with the help of Sundance Associates – and came up with the concept of “Tombstone Mysteries: Solve ‘Em and Save ‘Em.”
Our first Tombstone Mysteries was held last year on May 9, 2015. The location was Old City Cemetery and the adjacent Davis Cemetery in the Douglass Community of Plano. The “Solve ‘Em” component was conducted through our Mystery Tour and included learning about the people of Plano’s past, including our city’s veterans, and about what different cemetery symbols mean.
“Save ‘Em” was an interactive opportunity to clean gravestones. Participants learned proper cleaning technique under the supervision of professionals with Texas Cemetery Restoration LLC and The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. Cleaning the stones was done with water and D/2, a biological, biodegradable solution that removes stains, mold, algae, mildew, lichens and air pollutants.
The event was a success; for the duration of the two hours, we had almost 200 attendees. Most were families with children ranging from elementary school age to high school students. There were many smiling faces and many questions of “When is the next one?”
Our second annual Tombstone Mysteries event will be held on April 16, 2016, at Plano Mutual Cemetery, the final resting place of several founding families of Plano. William Forman, first official postmaster of the newly-named city of Plano, is buried in Plano Mutual on land he once owned. A cemetery association was formed in 1891 and its successor still maintains the grounds today. The first person buried in Plano Mutual Cemetery was a Dr. Lillie from Kentucky. Riding from Kentucky to Texas he fell ill with pneumonia and died not long after his arrival in Plano. More mysteries will be answered on April 16th!
This event is completely free to the public and is limited to the first 300 to sign up. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free t-shirt as well. The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation thanks the Plano Heritage Commission, Texas Cemetery Restoration and Sundance Associates for making these events a success.
Register at the link below or by calling 972-941-2117.Register for Tombstone Mysteries >