Recently we repaired the gate and a section of fence at Historic Young Cemetery.
Young Cemetery is located south of Highway 121 and east of Independence Parkway. The cemetery is land locked by an apartment complex and a golf course.
The biggest challenge with historic preservation is that all the building materials we take from the earth are trying to return to the earth. For example stone deteriorates, metals rust and wood rots.
Rotting wood recently became an issue at the Interurban Railway Museum and part of the flooring had to be replaced. The museum is located inside the Plano Station of the Texas Electric Railway built in 1908.
The first step was to remove the deteriorating floor, sub floor and joists.
Then new floor joists and a new sub floor were installed.
The next step is to install felt paper over the sub floor and then start installing the wood floor.
Finally the floor is sanded, stained and a top clear coat is applied.
In 1847 a small cemetery was started on the Texas prairie, just south of West Rowlett Creek. Today that cemetery is landlocked by an apartment complex to the west and a golf course to the south and east. The one-acre site was set aside for family members and friends who helped settle the area near the present-day crossroads of Plano, McKinney, Frisco and Allen.
The first burial at the cemetery was Patience Ann Cornell Young. The cemetery is the final resting place of Gladys Young and her mother, second wife of John Young, son of Samuel Young. Also Thomas Finley who fought in the War of 1812 is buried at Young Cemetery. Most of the people buried in Young Cemetery are related by blood or marriage.
The land grant of Jacob Baccus included the ara around the cemetery which remained in the family until the 1970s. The cemetery is now under the care of the Young Family Cemetery Association and is recognized as a Historic Texas Cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission. Historic Texas Cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission.
The The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, in partnership with Texas Cemetery Restoration, recently completed a restoration of the cemetery monuments. This project was funded by a grant from the City of Plano’s Heritage Commission.
Young Cemetery is located south of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and east of Independence Parkway. Visitors should enter through the Estancia at Ridgeview Ranch Apartments.
Plano’s Douglass Community is named after Fredrick Douglass. Douglass (1818-1895) was a well-known African-American writer, orator, and statesman who worked for social reform and abolition. He became a national leader of the abolitionist movement after escaping slavery in Maryland and going north, gaining recognition for his insightful and cogent antislavery writing and oration. Contemporary abolitionists said he directly contradicted the argument that slaves were incapable of acting as independent citizens, while Northerners at times disbelieved that a former slave could be such a powerful orator.
The wayside sign features the mosaic mural “Tracks of Our Past & Future” by Shug Jones and Lynne Chinn. A vibrant tribute to the past, present, and future of the Douglass Community, Tracks of Our Past & Future was a project initiated by Douglass residents and commissioned by the Douglass Community Arts Advisory. After five years of planning, the mural was dedicated on June 17th, 2006 at 12th St. and I Avenue as a part of Plano’s Juneteenth celebrations.
Illustrating the span of history since Andy Drake became the first African American to move to Plano, a focal point of the mural depicts one of Drake’s ancestors arriving to town as an ox driver from Louisiana. A forefather of some of the city’s largest families, many of Drake’s descendants continue to call Plano their home.
The wayside sign is located in Stimpson and Drake Park, 1212 H Avenue, Plano, Texas 75074.
Last week the Plano Conservancy installed a historic wayside sign on the site of Rice Field. This site was the home of the Plano High School Wildcats football team from 1925 to 1963. Rice field was also home to Plano’s African American High School team, the Panthers. The local Lions Club and Jaycees also played their charity “Weevil Bowl” game at Rice Field. Today the site is home to Rice Field at Plano Arts.
John Lewis played football in Plano prior to the city’s school integration. He recalls much time spent at Rice Field. “They’d play on Saturday night. We’d play on Friday night…. many of the black community would be down there watching our ball games. And on Saturday night, I’d go watch them play. Good football, now.
In 1925 the Plano Wildcats football team completed an undefeated season. The resulting fervor led to increased funding of Football. The district allocated funds to purchase a cow pasture for the purpose of playing football and other sports. The pasture was renamed Rice Field after two men who played key roles in the team’s history.
Joe Rice was a Plano school board member until 1930 and also farmed in the area. In fact, his mules did most of the field grading by pulling scrapers across the lot. His brother, Guy M. Rice, was manager of the original Plano football team in 1900, when Joe played on the team
By 1939, the Rice Field boasted amenities such as, seats for one thousand spectators, flushing toilets installed at the northwest corner of the field and a small press box. At that time, the field was rimmed by barbed-wire fencing and gravel paving.
However the glory days for Rice Field were short-lived. In 1964 the newly integrated Plano Wildcats would move into Wildcat Stadium (Williams Field), where they would win their first state championship in 1965.
Labor Day weekend brings the end of summer and the coming fall season. Thoughts turn to the hope of cooler weather, school days and football (especially in Texas). Plano, Texas has one of the greatest legacies in the history of Texas High School Football.
In 1964, the Plano School District integrated, setting an example for the state and nation, and our tight-knit community banded together through a language fluent to everyone–football. The Plano Wildcats had few winning seasons and no state titles at that time, but with hard work and a trailblazing spirit, coaches Tom Gray and John Clark led the integrated team all the way to state championship victory in 1965. It would be the first of seven state championships for the Plano Wildcats.
In 2014 the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation presented the inspiring story of the Wildcat fight for the title that made Plano a better place to live in “Football and Integration in Plano, Texas: Stay in There, Wildcats”. The book was written by Jeff Campbell, Amy Crawford and Kirby Stokes
Tony Battista, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 747 in Plano, has completed his Eagle Scout Project at Old City Cemetery in Plano. Tony’s project wass the restoration of the old iron fence in the cemetery.
Step 1 was to remove only the loose powdery oxidation and any rust scale that is on the fence. To do this a stainless steel fine wire brush was used. Heavy corded or twisted wire brushes are too aggressive for historic iron work and can easily remove too much material. The finer wire lasts longer and has more flexibility to reach tough spots and corners.
Step 3 was applying a coat of primer.
The final step is to apply two coats of oil based paint.
Here are some before and after pictures-
Thanks Tony for helping to preserve a piece of Plano’s historic past!