Islands of Eternity: Pocket Cemeteries

You might drive past them without even seeing them. These six little cemeteries, with the passage of time, have become surrounded by the world of the living.

Ahavath Sholom Cemetery on University Drive was carved from six acres of much larger Greenwood Cemetery in 1909. The pebbles are “stones of remembrance,” which visitors place—instead of flowers—on graves.

Emanuel Hebrew Rest (1879) on South Main is almost surrounded by John Peter Smith Hospital. City father John Peter Smith (1831-1901) donated the land for both cemetery and hospital.

Polytechnic Cemetery (late nineteenth century) is on the edge of the TWU campus. East Side residents buried there include county school superintendent Duncan McRae (1845-1912) and members of the pioneer Tandy and Hall families. The cemetery is maintained by a fund established by Paul Hollis, inventor of Poly Pop.

Even if someone told you that little Henderson Cemetery is near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway and Village Creek Road, you might have a hard time finding it. It’s hidden by a screen of trees two hundred feet off the road. Forty years ago the land was the Henderson farm. The cemetery contains nine tombstones and eight graves marked by rods. The oldest marked grave is that of Fannie Evans (1817-1867).

Like Henderson Cemetery, one-acre Harrison Cemetery off Meadowbrook Drive in far east Fort Worth is hidden from street view and doesn’t get a lot of TLC. Mill owner R. A. Randol deeded the cemetery and buried his brother John there after John was killed in an accident at the mill in 1894.

Even more isolated is Mitchell Cemetery. It lies just northeast of the Stockyards in a strip of land 150 feet wide between two railroad tracks. Only one legible tombstone remains: that of Seaborne Gilmore, who in 1850 was elected Tarrant’s first county judge. Gilmore also was father-in-law of John B. York.

Tomorrow: The Ides of March: Up a Lazy River (Part 1)

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  • Paul Mastin

    I know it’s not actually in Fort Worth, but the Parker Cemetery in Hurst is interesting for local history.

    • hometown

      Funny you mention that one, Paul. I was thinking that the cemetery where I first saw so many children’s graves years ago was in Hurst, but now I can’t picture where it is. My first newspaper job was for Mid-Cities Daily News in Hurst, and that may be how I came across that cemetery. . . . Ah! Thanks for the link. Now I see that the land was donated by the son of Isaac Parker. I have a post on Isaac Parker coming up. In fact, I had located that cemetery on the map while researching. Of course, the area looks very different than it did in 1968.