Save Austin's Cemeteries is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historic cemeteries in Austin through documentation, preservation, and education and promoting them as local and state cultural resources. Dale Flatt founded Save Austin's Cemeteries in 2004 when he saw the need for a higher level of maintenance at Oakwood Cemetery. Since then, SAC has been actively participating in the preservation efforts at the five city cemeteries.
SAC’s Accomplishments and Focus Areas
- SAC has worked hard for over a decade with Austin city officials to help craft the adopted Cemetery Master Plan and will continue to monitor and assist with its implementation.
- The Oakwood Cemetery Chapel Rehabilitation project was initiated by SAC over 10 years ago when we recognized the urgent need to restore the 1914 chapel. SAC paid for the initial, comprehensive studies and led grassroots efforts to get the project underway.
- We are a point of contact for families who are out of the area who need help contacting the Austin Cemetery Division and those needing help with photos and research.
- With our free Historic Walking Tours, guest speakers, and our outreach programs like headstone cleaning and gravestone photo documenting, we help share the city cemeteries with the public, tell family stories, and highlight that our cemeteries are outdoor museums.
- We research and collect family stories and photographs, and we highlight these stories though educational programs to convey that the City Cemeteries occupy an important place in Austin’s heritage.
- SAC thoroughly documents and monitors the conditions of the gravestones, lots, and surroundings. We are currently doing a comprehensive gravestone cleaning program to prevent further deterioration of historical markers and are working with the Austin Cemetery Division to develop a preservation program for damaged gravestones.
- We represent the descendants of the “residents’ of the city cemeteries by attending meetings with the Austin Cemetery Division to provide a voice for important topics like cemetery rules, rehabilitation projects and issues needing resolution.
For more details on SAC’s work since its founding in 2004, please see SAC Accomplishments.
Partners in Preservation
Save Austin's Cemeteries extends its sincerest gratitude to the following supporters:
Certified Local Government Program of the Texas Historical Commission:
Awarded the City of Austin in partnership with SAC a $7,600 matching grant in May 2012 for restoring the roof of the small building in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.
Ben Heimsath and his studio team created a feasibility study for the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel Restoration project on a pro bono basis.
The Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation:
Pat, Steve, Kate and Ian Saunders donated $3,500 in 2009 that went towards the engineering design drawings for the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel's foundation repair. The Foundation also provided a $6,000 unrestricted donation in 2016.
National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Awarded SAC with a $2,360 matching grant from the Fondren Endowed Fund received in October 2007 for conducting a building condition assessment and materials analysis on the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel.