National Register

The National Park Service (NPS) has determined through the Section 106 process that First Street Cemetery is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and that the property has been adversely affected by a recently completed construction project undertaken by the City of Waco (click here for information on federal involvement and the Section 106 process).  Pursuant to federal regulations in 36CFR800, measures to minimize or mitigate the adverse effects have been adopted in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) authored by the NPS.  The mitigation measures include the placement of a natural barrier around the cemetery, the removal of certain roads constructed over graves in the cemetery, the removal of a fence separating the marked and unmarked sections of the cemetery, and the designation of the cemetery as a State Archeological Landmark and a Historic Texas Cemetery.  The measures will be implemented according to a timeline that commences on June 22, 2010, the date of the finalization of the conversion of the LWCF-assisted park constructed in the cemetery in 1968.

The final MOA evolved from two draft copies that were distributed to consulting parties and signatories for comments.

Documentation sent by the NPS with the first draft of the MOA is available below:

  1. Draft MOA.
  2. Letter from the NPS to the consulting parties involved in Section 106 process (April 14, 2009).
  3. Waco Consulting Party Contacts as of April 07, 2009.
  4. Map of Area of Potential Effect (APE).  Note: the divisions of the cemetery/park shown on the map relative to the APE have not been explained by the NPS.
  5. Letter from the THC to the NPS (December 17, 2008).  
  6. Letter from the NPS to the THC announcing determination of NRHP eligibility for First Street Cemetery  (February 2, 2009).  The document regarding NRHP eligibility of the cemetery upon which the NPS based its determination is available here.  It is relevant to note that Waco City Manager Larry Groth attempted to discredit the document and denied the existence of a part of the cemetery (the predominantly African-American section where the new buildings are located) in correspondence to the NPS dated September 23, 2008 - "Although claims and arguments have been made that the areas known as First Street Cemetery are eligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register, the City believes that the citizen authored document submitted to NPS is misleading in the way it combines the portion of the cemetery actually renovated by the City in 1968 with Ft. Fisher Park where the 1968 Court order authorized the disinterment of remains and construction of the camp ground.  It is Ft. Fisher Park where the current construction is occurring [emphasis added].  The renovated portion of the cemetery remains untouched."  Waco City Attorney Leah Hayes also denied the existence of the predominantly African-American section of the cemetery in a public meeting on September 4, 2008. 
  7. Letter from THC to the NPS informing of concurrence with NPS recommendation of eligibility (March 4, 2009).  Letter includes suggested mitigation actions.
The second iteration of the draft MOA is available here.  Attachments A and B (accompanying maps) are available here and here.  Cover letter is here.


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