Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hillendahl (Blue Light) Cemetery (Part 1 of 3)

A 1914 Houston Chronicle obituary has a brief write-up about the death of Amlea Ries. German-born, Ries married the Rev. Fredrich Ries, emigrated to Houston, and settled in western Harris County. She died in 1914.

“The remains were sent to Addicks for burial,” the obituary ends.

But no one knows where at Hillendahl Cemetery she and her husband (both at left) are buried. Vandals removed their headstones years ago.

No one seems to know where Ira Gerald Kunze is buried, either. Born on July 14, 1883, he died a little more than a year later. His tombstone is lost, according to local history records.

Vandals also may have tried to dig up little Hugo Hillendahl’s grave – who died just days before he turned three months old.

At least three Hillendahls are buried at the cemetery – a small reminder of the German culture that once dominated the Addicks area. Most of the Hillendahls entered the country at Galveston, migrated to Houston, then Spring Branch before some of their children headed a few miles west.

Many set up dairy farms in the Addicks area, which, as the settlers found out, flooded easily.

It is believed that most of the burials at Hillendahl Cemetery began sometime in the 1870s. But flooding soon caused problems and even prevented some burials. Christian Meyer and his wife, Dorothea, both victims of an 1875 hurricane, were prevented from being buried there because of flooding.

But the community prospered, and by 1890, the Bear Creek German Methodist Church was built next to the cemetery, located in what is now Bear Creek Park.

For 12 years, the church stood next to that little cemetery. Burials increased, but as flood problems became worse, church members decided to move the church to higher ground and set up a new cemetery, according to Addicks United Methodist Church history.

It was the beginning of the end for Hillendahl Cemetery.

17 Comments:

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Ahumado said...

Wow, this brings back some memories. Is this leading up to the old cemetary which (IIRC) is located somewhere on Jackrabbit Rd?

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger J.R.G. said...

Yep. It's deep inside Bear Creek Park, which is at the corner of Patterson and Jackrabbit roads. I'm going to write a little more about the people buried there and throw in a few more photos. Check back soon!

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger Ahumado said...

I remember this from when my folks moved out to the 1960 area, before there was a (finished) highway 6 (1960) or 290 or beltway. We often drove that way to get over to west houston - jackrabbit to brittmoore, cut over at I10 to get to the Town and Country townhouses (they're still there). Anyway, I remember some of the stories. I'm looking forward to the rest.

 
At 4:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to say what a nice site. Bye, see you soon.
»

 
At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had to say this was very intersting I am a Hillendahl and I did research of my family a long time ago but i don't remember a lot of it and I've heard about the cemetery but have never gone...

 
At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ich nehme an,der ursprung der hillendahls ist deutschland viele sind aus magdeburg

 
At 7:43 PM, Anonymous R. McAfee said...

My friend and I visited this cemeter on horseback in the mid '70's. Even at that time people were knocking over some of the head stones. My friend and I did try to at least set the stones back in place. We rode in the car a many of nights by there, all I can say is we saw some really strange things at times. Sorry people are such destroyers of places like these. Wish I had the foresight at the time to take pictures of the cemetery when it was in relatively good shape...but what does a 16-17 year old know!

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

guys,

This cemetery is not being maintained and it is a down right shame.
I often ride by it on my mountain bike and think to myself how sorry I am for not cleaning and maintaining it myself. It's hard to get to with a car and you my get stuck anyway.
Several Hillendahl's are buried there along with the Rev. Reis and his wife Amlea. Hugo Hillendahl, an infant is also there.
I went to the site of the Texas Historical Cemetery's and volunteered to keep the place up today, 2/4/08 and am waiting on word back. The property is fenced and has keep out signs alround it. U.S. Government property so I'm not just going to bust in and clean it up.
Let me know if others may want to help.
rbcallahan@juno.com

Thanks,

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Macka said...

BLUE LIGHT CEMETERY SHOW

1560 THE GAME AM

RANDOM TIMES

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went there and there is high weeds all in that place. I did not see a hole in the fence it may be in the back. THer is too much high grass to walk back there now . Might be snakes . Im not going back there.

 
At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

went out there today, damn shame no one mows or keeps it up.
mosquitosteve@yahoo.com

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I tried to go to go there that field was in high grass. Looked like all kinds of snakes were there. Before that I got to the fence and it had a lock on it. There is a light pole still there and one grave stone is red orange on top from iron. I could see about 3 or 4 grave stones on the ground.

 
At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I went out there the path to it was dry. I saw the hole in the fence, its been that way along time. Pole is out side some virmin took out. I have pictures on face book of the place.

 
At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I went out there the path to it was dry. I saw the hole in the fence, its been that way along time. Pole is out side some virmin took out. I have pictures on face book of the place.

 
At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody know what happened to the church that was next to the cemetery?

 
At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing a research and would like to know more about this place. Please e-mail me any info at anitacristinita87@hotmail.com

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I drove my car in there to the cemetary at midnight in October 1964. 6 of us in my 1956 Buick. Lights off, waiting quietly, after 10 minutes noise and a blue light appeared behind my car. Fired it up and hauled ass down Patterson road toward 1960. The light chased us, right behind, at speeds up to 80 mph. Hit 1960 and nailed it. After a mile or so, large blue light appeared again right behind me. Hit 100 running from it. Finally it vanished. Never went back there again. True Story. Had 5 witnesses.

 

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