Dallas City Cemetery

Photo added by Eric

Dallas City Cemetery

Also known as City Paupers Cemetery

Location
Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Memorials 2,202 added (67% photographed)

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This resting place is formally known as “Dallas City Cemetery” but is typically referred to as the “City Pauper’s Cemetery” or “Dallas Pauper’s Cemetery”. Burials commenced on 21 April 1933 and ended 13 March 1978. It hosts approximately 2050 graves of the poorest citizens of Dallas County.

Opened during the days of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl after the previous City Cemetery ran out of space, its ranks swelled quickly due to longstanding issues with Prematurity caused by a lack of Prenatal Care, the Tuberculosis Epidemic (Dallas’ rate was 2% higher than the national average) which were exacerbated by the Great Depression.

The lack of a family support network is also evident in many of the cases, which can be seen in the attached Death Certificates which commonly show no relative present to give information on the deceased.

Burials ended when responsibility of the burials transferred to the County of Dallas from the City of Dallas in the late 1970s. The county has since buried pauper’s in regular cemeteries so that there is no ongoing maintenance.

The property is owned by the City of Dallas and is maintained by the Dallas Parks Department who are both involved in an effort to rescue this cemetery from complete ruin. As of August 2018 roughly half the graves are currently unmarked. Photos of the graves are being uploaded as they are recovered.

Those interested in learning more about the rescue effort are welcome to locate the Facebook group under the name “Gone But Not Forgotten Dallas”.

The cemetery faces a variety of maladies, such as poor drainage that causes roughly 200 graves to be submerged after every rainfall. The Parks Department comes out to drain the water each time until a permanent solution can be arranged.

The grid system used for interment has also been lost to time. An image of the grid is available to assist with understanding where in the cemetery your loved ones are located.
Block numbering now starts at 11 after blocks 1-10 were sold in the late 1970s and a warehouse constructed that hides the cemetery from plain view at the street. A small sign marks the entrance to the north of the warehouse located at 10606 Shady Trail.

More than 400 loose Name Plates have been recovered and donated to the Dallas Public Library Archives (7th Floor J. Eric Johnson Library) in Downtown Dallas. The so called “Master Book” is also located there in a separate collection.

Various types of metal were used for Name Plates over the lifespan of the cemetery. Initially markers were made from Copper ending just prior to the Battle of Pearl Harbor and the US joining into WWII. During the war Copper would remain in short supply and steel often served as the stand-in. Aluminum was used before a final transition to thick Steel.
Regardless of the type of metal used, markers continued to fail as they came loose with a failing concrete base or were struck by the blade of a lawnmower. Initial designs had the markers tilted forward for readability, but that seems to have contributed to the problem.
Markers were 2” x 3.5” (the same size as a modern business card) and were crudely forged by the staff. The markers are rife with errors with misspelling of names and incorrect dates often listing the Date of Burial as the Date of Death.

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GPS Coordinates: 32.86959, -96.88796

  • Added: 2 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #3154