The Coryell County Historical Commission works to recognize and preserve the history of the county.

“We’re trying to educate the people of the community about the county’s history,” said Janis Barnhil, commission secretary.

As part of the county government, the primary function of the historical commission is to help individuals and organizations obtain official state markers to designate landmarks as historical sites.

The commission is now helping to place markers at six sites in the county, Barnhill said.

James Powell, a commission member since 2005, is designated the “Marker Chair” and is in charge of the historical marker placement process.

The process to obtain a marker for a historic cemetery has two stages, Powell said.

“First, there is an application to designate the cemetery as a Historic Texas Cemetery, then there’s an application for the marker itself,” he said. “This is a state-wide policy, and I help them through that official process.”

The commission recently held a dedication ceremony, with record attendance, at the Weaver Chapel Cemetery of the Ames community.

Several speakers at the ceremony presented the preserved history of the cemetery and surrounding rural community. They also recognized the lives and achievements of fallen military veterans buried there.

Dedicating historical cemeteries isn’t the commission’s only goal. It works to preserve and maintain structures throughout the county.

“Right after I became a member, we put money toward an old bridge adjacent to Freedom Park,” Powell said. “And the bridge was permanently located and renovated and thresholds were constructed for entry and exit to the bridge.”

Freedom Park, located near the Coryell County Activity Complex baseball park, was a project started by the commission and a local garden club five years ago.

Gatesville also helped make improvements to the park since renovations were started. Freedom Park is now a popular site for tree plantings every Arbor Day.

Throughout the year, the commission also selects a business housed in a well preserved building as the “Downtown Business of the Month.”

In its pursuit to preserve and promote local history, the 11-member Coryell County Historical Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce’s old Cotton Belt Depot building in Gatesville.

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