2. Old City Cemetery (c. 1850):


Madison Street & 2nd Street to 5th Street Open 7a.m.8p.m. daily
The Old City Cemetery was established circa 1850 replacing Brownsville’s first cemetery which was deemed too small to for the growing population. Legal disputed surrounding the ownership of the land delayed its formal registry until 1868, but burials began shortly after the cemetery was established. Some bodies were moved from the first cemetery and reinterred once the Old City Cemetery was created. The cemetery contains a large number of above-ground crypts, massive ornate monuments and elaborate decorative ironwork fences which mark off many old family plots. The crypts typify the Spanish-French influence in the border area and are reminiscent of the cemeteries in New Orleans, a city where a number of early residents lived prior to settling in the area. Buried amongst the city’s residents are Matamoros residents and Fort Brown soldiers and their families- some of which came from across the United States and other countries to be with the soldiers stationed at the Fort. Many markers’ inscriptions are written in Spanish, French, and German. The birthplaces listed on the grave markers reveal a mix of nationalities and other cities from across the U.S.  and are reflective of Brownsville’s cosmopolitanism. The cemetery was divided into several separate sections: General Grounds, Sociedad Benito Juarez Parcel, Masonic Section, International Order of Odd Fellow Parcel, Sociedad Miguel Hidalgo Parcel, Catholic Parcel and Potter’s Field. The sections for the Catholic Church, Sociedad Benito Juarez and the Masons were allotted in exchange for funds used to build the brick wall around the cemetery. Other fraternal orders whose members were buried in the cemetery include the Woodmen of the World, the Sociedad Concordia-aa Mexican American women’s organization, and the Knights of Columbus..