It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future. . . . William J. Murtagh

Cemeteries are important keys to Texas’ past. They are reminders of settlement patterns and reveal information about historic events, religion, lifestyles, and genealogy. Unfortunately, some historic cemeteries are increasingly threatened by development pressures, encroachment, vandalism, and theft. Circumstances can change quickly—a cemetery considered maintained and safe can quickly become neglected and endangered. 

To address the problem of cemetery destruction and to record as many cemeteries as possible, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers the Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) designation. A cemetery is eligible for designation if it is at least 50 years old and is deemed worthy of recognition for its historical associations. The very nature of a cemetery being a landmark of a family’s or community’s presence is considered to validate the criteria of historical associations. 

The Athens Cemetery received its designation as a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2002. This is a badge of honor that the cemetery holds very dear, and current and future projects support this.