Posted on: March 7, 2018

City of Deer Park secures Texas Historical Subject Marker

Historical Marker news item

After three years of cooperative effort and research, the City of Deer Park recently secured a Texas Historical Subject Marker signifying the location of the gravestone of two early Deer Park settlers.

Approved by the Texas Historical Commission in late January, the marker will be placed in central Dow Park, where the gravestone of siblings Mary Wilson Jackson and William Jackson is currently located.

“We are very, very excited and happy to have received approval for this Historical Marker,” said Sherry Garrison, City Council member and Historical Committee Chair. “We have been working on this project for three years, and we could not have achieved this milestone without the hard work of the Harris County Historical Commission, SWCA Environmental Consultants and the dedication of our staff.”

Preserving history

The gravestone of the Jackson siblings was originally located on Shell Deer Park property and was moved to Dow Park during a 1977 expansion project with a small container containing a cubic foot of earth from the original site. The container served as a functional casket for the remains of the siblings.

In 2008, the gravestone was moved to Heritage Park where it remained until 2016.

At that time, the City contracted with Texas Cemetery Restoration to carefully clean the gravestone and to provide an analysis of its base. With the knowledge the gravestone could safely be transported, City Council approved moving the gravestone back to Dow Park, allowing the stone to once again be co-located with the container of earth.

With the gravestone and the casket together again, the City started the process of pursuing a Texas Historical Marker and began working with Paul Scott – the State Marker Chair for the Harris County Historical Commission - as well as Hannah Curry-Shearhouse, a historic preservationist with SWCA.

“Working with Mr. Scott allowed us to determine first, whether the Dow Park site would constitute a legal gravesite, and second, what kind of marker we would be eligible for,” Garrison said. “With assistance from Curry-Shearhouse, who drafted our official Texas State Historical Marker application, we were able to accurately present the history of the marker to the Texas Historical Commission and await their decision.

“In January 2018, we received approval for a Texas Historical Subject Marker for ‘Early Deer Park Settlers.’ We were overjoyed when we received the news!”

According to Scott, Deer Park’s application was one of only 155 marker applications approved by the Texas Historical Commission for the entire state of Texas.

“This was a good learning experience for all involved,” he said. “Deer Park fulfilled its duty to preserve the monuments of our past.”

Curry-Shearhouse said she was very pleased to have been a part of securing the historic recognition for Deer Park.

“Councilwoman Garrison was very helpful in identifying research sources, providing materials, and making sure that I had all of the tools I needed in order to write the marker application,” she said. “It was really interesting to write about the Jackson and Wilson grave marker because the stone has such a unique story.”

Garrison wished to specifically thank Assistant City Manager Gary Jackson and Special Projects Coordinator Cristina Gossett for their assistance throughout the course of the marker application process.



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