HISTORY IN A GRAVESTONE
Brownsville’s Old City Cemetery Center, located in the historic Buena Vida neighborhood, serves as both archive and tourist destination for the city’s robust history. The Center hosts exhibitions, cultural events and educational programs designed to preserve the genealogy and architecture of the Brownsville Historic City Cemetery, resting place for the remains of many of the region’s earliest citizens. Victims of wars, gunfights, and yellow fever mix with deceased prominent community figures, their graves marked with ornate monuments and iron fencework or interred in architecturally significant above-ground crypts. Many designs reflect the Spanish-French influence in the area and exist side-by-side with tombstones inscribed in German, English, French and Spanish, an indication of Brownsville’s ethnic diversity. Under the auspices of the Brownsville Historical Association, the Center is charged with the protection, interpretation and preservation of this important historic site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers group tours and programs to enhance visitors’ cemetery experience.