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Edgewood EDC Saving Old, Planning for New

By Vy Townsend Malcik Staff Writer
April 13, 2012 at 2 a.m.


From reclaiming a 132-year-old local cemetery to advertising Heritage Park on a highway billboard, members of Edgewood's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) continue to be about the business of preserving and reminding others of some of the gems of East Texas life and culture.

Called the Northside Cemetery and pre-dating 1880, the grounds, weeds, overgrown trees and turned-over grave markers now make the cemetery hard to find at the south end of Edgewood on FM 859.

The Edgewood Historical Society paid for an official survey to be completed, so much more is known about the landowners outside the 620 foot plot of land where early settlers to the town are buried.

For example, a few outlaws were buried in the far northwest corner because, at that time, they were not allowed a Christian burial inside a cemetery.

Most of the grave markers have been either stolen or thrown about, so it will never be possible to identify those buried there.

However, local historians Elvis and Francene Allen use a "witching stick" which indicates where the magnetic field of the earth below the top soil has been disturbed. That helps in identifying where the graves are, and the EDC plans to place crosses or other markers wherever there is the indication of a grave dug nearly 150 years ago.

Pattizo Humphries Musslewhite, who will direct the restoration, has been in contact with Texas Parks nd Wildlife (TPW) about a possible grant. Such help is more likely because the EDC wants to add tables, benches, landscaping and decorative fencing and call it Edgewood Cemetery and Park. The location is in a minority area and would be an additional place for gatherings and activities – all interests of the TPW.

Additionally, an official Texas State Historical Marker has already been placed there, and state-designated historical sites are of special interest for development by the TPW.

In other business, members were assigned research into the possibilities of a billboard, either on Highway 80 or on I-20 that would indicate the way to Edgewood's Heritage Park and also advertise the annual Heritage Festival that is celebrated every November.

This suggestion came from Brooks Gremmels, the philanthropist who is spearheading the rebuilding of Ben Wheeler. Members Lee Howell and Vy Malcik will bring information on the billboard possibility to the May 14 meeting.

President David Musslewhite never has a shortage of ideas for making Edgewood a good place to live and for businesses to also find a home. He proposed a Front Street Flea Market for the autumn Highway 80 Garage Sale.

Members started planning for that possibility with Board member Helen Howell showing great enthusiasm for such an event.

Lee Howell continues to work through the state's slow bureaucracy for placing permanent large stone signs with "Edgewood Established 1873" at each end of town on Highway 80.

Once approved by TXDOT, bids will be taken for the permanent structures that will lend a special touch of class to the major entrances to Edgewood, much like other East Texas towns have done.

The March 25 Edgewood Easter Egg Hunt was considered by all to be a huge success with large crowds, generous prizes from Edgewood merchants that were found in the special Golden Eggs and lots of happy children.

Twelve members of Edgewood High School's National Honor Society (NHS) served as docents and assistants at the egg hunt.

To show the appreciation of the EDC, members voted to make a gift of $100 to the NHS Scholarship Fund. High School Principal Kristin Prater will also receive a letter of appreciation from the EDC.

The group has placed banners and smaller signs for Edgewood's emphasis on cleaning up the town during the month of April.

Free dumpsters will be located downtown on Saturday, April 21, for Edgewood citizens to get rid of the junk that is lurking in their yards, garages, storage buildings, pastures, and probably also in some kitchen cabinets!

Always advocates for their hometown, EDC members continue to plan, fund and complete projects that truly do make Edgewood a better place to live. Thank you, David and Pattizo Musslewhite, Helen and Lee Howell, Andy Baker, Diana Wilcoxson and Pam Allen for your continuing work and example of volunteerism.

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