History of the City Cemetery

In March 1892, a delegation of Lubbock residents requested five acres of pasture land from rancher H. M. Bandy for use as a cemetery. That same month, they held the first burial, that of Cochran County Cowboy, Henry Jenkins, who died of pneumonia while staying at a local hotel. The first Lubbock resident buried at the city cemetery was Joseph R. Coleman, who died in 1892. His small-crossed shaped headstone, no longer in existence, was the first erected in the cemetery.

The cemetery has held as many as four separate burial grounds, segregated by race, faith, and economic level. Records indicate various and distinct cemetery associations maintained these burial grounds throughout the twentieth century. One such group, Los Socios Del Sementerio, or associates of the cemetery, provided for the burial of area migrant workers. The cemetery was integrated in the late 1960s.

With more than sixty thousand graves, the City of Lubbock cemetery is the third largest in Texas. Burials here represent a broad cross-section of the cities history. Among those interred here is the noted rock and roll musician and songwriter Charles Hardin Holley (Buddy Holly).

The City of Lubbock Cemetery is proud to have been designated as a Texas Historic Cemetery.

Historic Texas Cemetery Designation

Historic Texas Cemetery designation is an official recognition of family and community graveyards and encourages preservation of historic cemeteries. The designation imposes no restrictions on private owners use of the land adjacent to the cemetery but provides for the recordation of the cemetery into the county deed records as a historically dedicated property worthy of preservation. To receive the designation, the applicant must show proof that the cemetery is at least 50 years old, provide precise information about its location and document it using a Historic Texas Cemetery designation application, as well as black and white photographs.

This designation does not guarantee the protection of historic cemeteries, but it helps preserve cemeteries because it makes present and future landowners aware of the resources on their property. The designation does not restrict the public use or the private owner's use of the land adjacent to the cemetery.

The seal or medallion for the Historic Texas Cemetery designation includes the designation name encircling the Texas state seal with star. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is identified at the bottom of the circle as the agency awarding the designation.

In the center of the seal, a rose and cypress branch surrounds the star. The five-point Lone Star has been associated with Texas since independence was declared from Mexico in 1836. The star used on the medallion is from the official state seal adopted by the secretary of state in June 1992.

Traditionally, among ancient Romans, the rose was the symbol of victory, pride and triumphant love. In Renaissance art, wreaths of roses are worn by angels, saints or human souls who have entered heavenly bliss to indicate heavenly joy.

The cypress was associated with death for thousands of years and it is found in many cemeteries. Some reasons for the association with death include its dark foliage and the fact that once cut, the cypress never grows up again from its roots.