Marker at Cemetery Records Black History

entry sign 1-1000Across the highway from the largest shopping center in Georgetown and tucked behind two new restaurants is a cemetery that is older than the Williamson County Courthouse. Established in 1906, the Citizen’s Memorial Garden Cemetery on Memorial Drive is the final resting place for generations of African American residents of Georgetown. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

Early burials at the cemetery were likely those of former slaves. In addition to African American residents, a section on the western edge of the cemetery contains plots for residents who were Hispanic.

The seven-acre cemetery seems to be mostly empty with 306 headstones or markers scattered throughout a fenced field. However, a 2013 study revealed the locations of at least 511 unmarked graves at the cemetery.

cemetery marker sign 1000Surveyors with Horizon Environmental Services from Austin identified the unmarked graves as depressions in the ground surface or as small earthen mounds. Many more unmarked graves are likely at the cemetery, according to the study.

Graves that are unmarked may once have had metal plaques provided by funeral homes which have since deteriorated or were removed. Other unmarked graves could have once been indicated with stones or concrete markers that were not inscribed, or on which lettering has weathered away.

The survey of the Citizen’s Memorial Garden Cemetery and an interpretive sign were funded by a $7,000 grant from the Texas Historical Commission and a $7,000 match from the City of Georgetown. The interpretive sign provides historical information about the cemetery and also shows the numbered plots of all marked graves with a listing of names of those identified graves. In addition, white squares on map of the cemetery show the locations of unmarked graves.

marker group 1b-1000

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Kimberly Garrett, Laurie Brewer, Dorris Ross, Mary Faulkner, Paulette Taylor, Matt Synatschk, Beatrice Miller, Gertrude Saterfield, and Birdie Shanklin. Ross, Faulkner, Taylor, Miller, Saterfield, and Shanklin each have relatives buried at the cemetery. Garrett is director of parks and recreation for the City, Brewer is assistant city manager, and Synatschk is historic planner for the City.

Cupid’s Chase 5k and Fun Run Feb. 7

Register now for the 20th annual Cupid’s Chase 5k and Fun Run on Saturday, February 7. The chip-timed 5k run/walk begins at 8 a.m. in downtown Georgetown at Seventh and Main streets and ends at the Bark Park on Holly Street. (A shuttle will take you back to the starting line.)

Through February 4, the registration cost is $22 per person for all age groups. Registration at packet pickup and race day is $25 per person for all age groups.

The Kids Fun Run for children age 8 or younger starts at 7:30 a.m. The course is a loop around the Courthouse. Registration is $10 on or before February 4 and $15 on race day. T-shirts are not guaranteed if you register on race day.

Participants receive a Cupid’s Chase Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em T-shirt, while supplies last. Gus’s Drug is sponsoring a costume contest for Cupid’s Chase for the best three cupid-related costumes. Check in at the Gus’s Drug table at the finish line for the costume contest. Dogs on a leash are always welcome on the Cupid’s Chase course.

Awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female winners and the overall male and female masters winners as well as the top three male and female finishers in each age division. Awards also will be presented to the top overall male and female City of Georgetown employee. If you are a City of Georgetown employee, be sure to indicate so when you register.

Race results will be posted after the race at

In case of bad weather on race day, check,, and for updates. There are no refunds or transfers for participants.

Cupid’s Chase is sponsored by Georgetown Parks and Recreation. Event proceeds help to fund projects at Georgetown parks. To register online or for details, go to


Westside Park Public Input Meeting Jan. 22

A new 90-acre park on the west side of Georgetown is being planned and the City of Georgetown wants your input. What would you like to see in this park? Ball fields? Hiking trails? Natural preserves? We’d like to know what is important to you.

West Side Park property-400The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department is holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. on January 22 to get your input. The meeting will be at the Community Center at 445 E. Morrow Street in San Gabriel Park.

The City owns 90 acres of undeveloped parkland that will be used for the new westside park. The property is on the northwest side of Shell Road near Shell Spur. Berry Creek runs through the parkland and limestone cliffs border the creek’s edge.

The City purchased the 90-acre property in 2013 for $1.35 million in order to develop the land into a park on the west side of the city. Revenue from the 2008 voter-approved parks bonds was used to purchase the land.

Public input from the January 22 meeting will be used in the creation of a master plan for the future park. The City also encourages you to join an online discussion at The westside park could include uses such as fields for soccer and baseball, playgrounds, nature trails, picnic pavilions, and natural areas.

The Parks and Recreation Department will incorporate public input in the design of a master plan for the westside park. The master plan process is expected to take approximately six months. The construction timeline for the park will depend on utility and development projects in the area, as well as future funding.

For details about plans for the future westside park, contact Eric Nuner, assistant director of parks and recreation at (512) 930-3525 or

Location map to Community Center:

Skate Park Closed

1/13/2015: The Skate Park is closed until further notice due to vandalism. For more information, please call (512) 930-3596.

Trail and Chautauqua Park Opening Photos

Mayor Dale Ross, Parks and Recreation Department staff, and other officials cut the ribbon on a new mile-long section of the San Gabriel River Trail on Friday. The event was held at Chautauqua Park, 602 Rucker Street. The new section of the hike and bike trail extends from University Avenue north to Blue Hole Park. The trail parallels Scenic Drive and goes through Chautauqua Park. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

trail ribbon cutting-2-1000

City officials cut the ribbon on the new section of trail.

Chautauqua pavilion-2-1000

Improvements at Chautauqua Park include a new picnic pavilion.

Chautauqua restroom-2-1000

A new restroom was constructed at Chautauqua Park.

Scenic trail 2a-1000

The concrete trail is eight feet wide and follows Scenic Drive.

Scenic trail overlook-2-1000

The new section of trail includes an overlook near University Avenue.

San Gabriel River Trail Grand Opening

You’re cordially invited to join Georgetown Parks & Recreation for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Grand Opening of the San Gabriel River Trail on Friday, October 24 at 10:00 am. The event will take place at Chautauqua Park located at 602 Rucker. For more information, please call (512) 930-3595 or email


[geotag /]

Georgetown Lifeguard Teams Win 1st and 2nd in State

Lifeguard teams from the City of Georgetown took the top two spots in the state lifeguard competition in College Station yesterday. The state lifeguard team competition was part of the 2014 Summer Games of Texas sponsored by the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation.

Dauntless team-640

Team Dauntless from Georgetown took first place in the competition. Pictured above in the photo (left to right) are Curtis Morgan with TAAF and members of Team Dauntless including Trevor Carey, Cameron Speegle, Hunter Boyd, and Baylee Hill with Stephanie Darimont, aquatic coordinator for Georgetown Parks and Recreation. Team Dauntless qualified for the state finals after placing first at the Texas Superguard regional competition in July.

ReGuardless team-640

Placing in second at the state competition was Team ReGuardless from Georgetown. Pictured above in the photo (left to right) are Curtis Morgan and members the ReGuardless team Saige Culbertson, Mason Sheppard, Sydney Sorensen, and Kate Krause with Stephanie Darimont.

The two top teams from Georgetown were among 12 teams statewide that qualified for the state finals competition. The top three teams from four regional competitions this summer qualified to compete in the state finals. Each team in the state finals yesterday competed in four events. In the events, teams demonstrated proficiency in first aid, CPR, and other rescue skills.

A third team from Georgetown that qualified for the state competition and participated in the finals was Team Four Bravery, including Bailey Vandegrift, Emily Sargeant, Jack McLean, and Trevor Springer.

The three Georgetown lifeguard teams were composed of lifeguards who work for the City of Georgetown in the Parks and Recreation Department at the City’s outdoor and indoor pools.

Lifeguards Win Regional Competition

A team of lifeguards from the City of Georgetown won a regional lifeguard competition last week and has qualified to compete in the statewide competition.

Team Dauntless from Georgetown placed first at the Texas Superguard regional competition in College Station on July 7.

superguard team 2014-b-640

Members of Team Dauntless (pictured left to right in the photo) are Trevor Carey, Cameron Speegle, Baylee Hill, and Hunter Boyd. Among the 22 lifeguard teams in the regional competition, Team Dauntless earned the top rank. Teams must perform a variety of life-saving scenarios and are scored on their proficiency.

Also at the regional competition, Hunter Boyd was awarded overall top male lifeguard and the Four Bravery lifeguard team from Georgetown placed seventh overall.

The Dauntless team will compete in the state lifeguard competition in College Station on August 4.

San Gabriel Park Improvements at FM 971 to Start

San Gabriel Park improvements near the intersection of Austin Avenue and FM 971 will begin on Monday, July 14.  The improvements will include relocation of the granite trail, soccer field four, and other elements including baseball back stops and exercise equipment.  This project is in coordination with Transportation Services and is necessary for the future FM 971 road improvements which are scheduled for the next 12-18 months.

Soccer field four will be relocated near the existing field one and will be irrigated and sodded.  The trail will be reconfigured, but will remain the same length as it is currently.  Our goal is to minimize the impact to trail users for the duration of construction which is scheduled to be completed in mid-September.  Landscape and irrigation will then begin in October.  We will keep everyone informed when it is necessary to divert users to the new section of trail.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience. For more information, please contact Georgetown Parks & Recreation at (512) 930-3595.

Parks Board Poster

>> Click here for a larger version of the above image

Granny Basketball Game Photos

sign for game-400The Texas Fire Ants from Georgetown played the Louisiana Crushers in the first official Granny Basketball game to be played in Texas. The two teams played Saturday afternoon at the Georgetown Recreation Center. The Louisiana Crushers drove nearly six hours from their home in DeRidder, Louisiana for the game.

Saturday’s game in Georgetown was the first Texas match-up in the Granny Basketball League, which started in Iowa nearly 10 years ago. The league is a revival of the six-on-six girls basketball popular in Iowa from the 1920s through the 1970s. More than 200 women over 55 now play in the senior league with 25 teams in five states in the U.S.

The league plays by the 1920s rules for girls basketball. Players may only dribble twice before passing or shooting.

dribbling 1

Here the women on the Fire Ants team in white blouses work the ball against the Crushers, in the purple vests.

pass 1-600

Running is not allowed in the game. Passing to an open player is a key element of the game.

shot 1-400

Jumping also is not allowed. The players must stay in the floor when shooting.

Barb McPherson-300

Barb McPherson, who started the Granny Basketball League in 2005, served as the referee for the game. She travelled from her home town in Iowa to be here for the first Granny Basketball game in Texas. McPherson’s sister Linda Toerper lives here in Georgetown and started the Texas Fire Ants team.

Joy of Six

All the rules are covered in detail in the official rules handbook for the game called the Joy of Six.

Crushers team shot-b500

The Crushers (above), who have been playing together for seven years, won the game against the novice Fire Ants Team. But all the women on both teams seemed to have a great time playing. There were smiles and hugs among all the players at the end of the game.

Fire Ants team shot-b500

The Fire Ants (above) now have 10 women on the roster ranging in age from 55 to 77. They work on skills or scrimmage each Wednesday at the Georgetown Recreation Center.

The Fire Ants plan to compete in the Granny Basketball League national tournament in Oklahoma City on July 12.

For information on how to get involved with the Granny Basketball team at the Georgetown Recreation Center, contact Robert Staton, senior recreation program coordinator for the City of Georgetown parks and recreation department at (512) 930-1367 or