Vandals, trash and neglected head stones. A historic North Texas cemetery has been a mess for decades.
The cemetery is currently known as Col. Middleton Tate Johnson Plantation Cemetery and Park.
It sits between an apartment complex and food mart along a busy stretch of Arkansas Lane in Arlington.
"I don't know how much time we've spent on cleaning up the cemetery, trimming bushes and repairing the fence," said Geraldine Mills, Executive Director of the Arlington Historical Society. "This is our history. It shouldn't be happening. This should be recognized as what it is. A historic cemetery."
The Arlington Historical Society has turned to the public for help with its $60,000 fundraising campaign to restore the cemetery and make it a historical destination people want to visit again.
"We'll repair the headstones and replace others. We'll clean it up," said Mills.
The restoration project will include fencing and security, gravestone restoration and an interactive history tour.
There's an estimated 77 people buried at the cemetery and 47 known head stones, said Mills.
Sections of the aging chain-link fence surrounding the cemetery have been destroyed, allowing people to use the cemetery grounds as a shortcut to a nearby convenience store.
Trespassers not only walk through the private property, but also leave trash behind and cause damage to the grave markers, Mills said.
The Arlington Historical Society wants to ensure the cemetery is adequately secured by installing a wrought iron fence with a prominent entryway.
“The people who are buried there contributed to make Arlington what it is today and they deserve not only our respect, but our protection,” Mills said.