Sugar Land, TX – The city of Sugar Land recently completed significant restoration work at the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery, a historic site located within the 65-acre parkland area between Easton Avenue and Fort Bend ISD James Reese & Technical Center in Telfair.
The city-owned cemetery contains the remains of prisoners who passed away between 1912 and 1942 at the Texas Department of Corrections’ Central Prison Unit -- after the state convict leasing system was abolished in the early 1900s.
The city acquired the 65 acres of land, including the cemetery, in 2012 for parkland and to ensure the preservation of the cemetery. Since then, the city has worked in collaboration with the Fort Bend County Historical Commission and Texas Historical Commission. These efforts led to the designation of the cemetery property as a historic site and the unveiling of a Texas historical marker on-site in 2018. The city also developed a site improvement plan to preserve and honor the history.
The first phase of the plan is to restore the cemetery and slow down the deterioration of the existing gravestones. The city signed a contract in 2022 with Texas Cemetery Restoration LLC. The restoration project involved repairing and cleaning the existing gravestones, researching prisoners’ names and records and installing the permanent pillow markers for each burial identified in the previous surveys.
“Our staff verified the existing gravestone information with the cemetery survey and report published by Texas State Genealogical Society in December 1994, together with the available convict records from Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Unit,” said Director of the Parks and Recreation Joe Chesser. “We are pleased to complete this phase of the cemetery improvements. Our goal is to integrate further cemetery improvements into the design and implementation of the future 65-acre community park.”
For more information about the project background and history, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/ImperialFarmCemetery.
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