One cold bright march morning, I stumbled across the Texas State Cemetery. I was attending a SXSW session at the Prohibition Creamery and, as I sat listening to the speakers, I couldn’t take my gaze away from the beautiful cemetery across the road.
From where I sat, I could see the pristine green turf against the bright blue sky. The white headstones sitting neatly in the landscape. The Texas flag fluttered on a high pole against the sky.
I Googled the cemetery and ‘famous burials at Texas State Cemetery’ and made my way across the road after the event.
“Just blocks east of the State Capitol, the Cemetery is the final resting place of Governors, Senators, Legislators, Congressmen, Judges and other legendary Texans who have made the state what it is today.” (official site)
Since 1851, the Texas State Cemetery has become a resting place for the great and the good of Texas. It was started as a confederate cemetry but later expanded to be a resting place for the Great & the Good of Texas.
Those great Texans include veterans of the American Revolutionary War (The War of Independence) and Texas Meddle of Honor holders, who have represented Texas across multiple conflicts from the Civil War right up to Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 – 2010).
Many of the State’s politicians and civil leaders are also interred here.
On the South-East corner of the cemetery lies Confederate Field. A simple sign reads that whilst there were very little Civil War ‘action’ on Texas soil, there were a good many Texans that lost their lives on both sides of the divide.
A dedicated tomb stood out in the middle of the cemetery. This was for Albert Sidney Johnston, the highest ranking general – on either side – killed during the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh (also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing) in 1862.
Many of those buried here are names that won’t mean a lot to international visitors like me. But I was touched to see a memorial to Chris Kyle. You may know him from the book or movie American Sniper. Chris was tragically killed by another Veteran, suffering from PTSD. His memorial is garish but moving in equal measures.
Gene Cernan, the last human to walk on the moon is also buried here.
Considering SXSW was in full swing (with 20,000+ visitors in town) I didn’t see another person here. I do recommend a visit, if you want to escape the craziness of Austin. It is a minute walk from Red River Street, and less in a Uber.
909 Navasota Street
Austin, TX 78702, USA