TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
 
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map


Texas Cemeteries
Black history
Texas
Black History

Texas Cemeteries

GARDEN OF ANGELS

The Garden of Angels in Mosier Valley,
a tiny, mostly black community on the north edge of
Arlington, Texas


By William Holmes
"At first glance, the Garden of Angels looks like just another cemetery. Oh, but it's not. The Garden and the story behind are both touching and... chilling...." - Author
Mosier Valley Garden of Angels Cross memorials, Arlington Texas
Photo courtesy William Holmes, June 2005
June 26, 2005 Sunday

This evening I drove out Mosier Valley Rd, where it intersects with Trinity Boulevard, to see a roadside memorial called The Garden of Angels. Mosier Valley is a cluster of weatherworn houses, trailer homes and miscellaneous small businesses at the end of Mosier Valley Road. The original population in the late 1800s was freed blacks, and today is still mostly black, some white, all working class to poor. No fancy houses here. Mosier Valley Road itself is a narrow, bumpy, two-lane stretch of asphalt that runs alongside railroad tracks. On one side the road passes along fields cluttered with weeds and junk. The other side of the road, beyond the tracks, is bordered by a huge pit, hundreds of yards wide, lined with mountains of dark earth and large rocks which give the place a forbidding look. A sign reads EARTH MOVERS INC. On down a ways, on a corner by a house, a handwritten sign offers goats for sale.

At the end of Mosier Valley Road, where it meets Trinity Blvd, is a striking array of gleaming white crosses that seems out of place in this drab and dirty area. This is the Garden of Angels.
Crosses in Garden of Angels Mosier Valley Arlington Texas
Photo courtesy William Holmes, June 2005
Here and there, all over Texas, you see roadside crosses memorializing someone killed in an accident. What makes the Garden of Angels different is that it memorializes people who have been murdered. It began with Amy Robinson. On February 15, 1998, she was 19, with the mental ability of a 14 yr old, riding to work on her bicycle, when she was kidnapped and killed by co-workers. Her body was dumped on the other side of Trinity Blvd, near a tower. Her grandmother, Carolyn Barker, started the garden with a cross for Amy. Others added crosses for local people and some not so local, all of them murdered, until now one corner of the intersection is full of crosses, plus a few bench memorials. A metal fence encloses the crosses, a brick walkway, and a small pond with goldfish. The crosses are arranged in uneven rows. Some of the crosses are illustrated with pictures and at the foot of many of the crosses lie small mementos of the person's life.
Cross and Pond, Garden of Angels Mosier Valley Arlington Texas
Photo courtesy William Holmes, June 2005
So many of these murder victims were young, 20 yrs old or younger. Here is a chilling reminder, five crosses, clustered together on the front row, each with a youngster's picture, their first names - Noah, John, Mary, Luke, Paul - and their last name: Yates. On a bench on the corner, outside the fence, is another familiar name: Polly Klaas. I counted 54 crosses, including one for an unborn child.
Garden of Angels Mosier Valley Arlington Texas
Photo courtesy William Holmes, June 2005
On the other side of Mosier Valley Road are 32 more crosses, arranged in two rows. And a gazebo in memory of a young fellow named Christopher. Altogether, almost 90 victims of murder - the malicious killing of one human by another. I don't know of any other such memorial in Texas. Absolutely, it's a graphic sign of how violent humans can be, but ironically, the fact that the memorial stands out so vividly and strangely, is an implied reminder of how safe most of us actually are. When such memorials are no longer striking and strange or when we stop noticing at all, then we truly are in trouble.


Article and photos © William Holmes

See Arlington, Texas

Related Topics:
Texas Cemeteries | Texas Black History | Texas Murders

Book Hotel Here >
Arlington Hotels

Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Go to Home Page »
TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

TEXAS REGIONS:
Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Courthouses
Jails
Churches
Schoolhouses
Bridges
Theaters
Depots
Rooms with a Past
Monuments
Statues

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Museums
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Lodges
Stores
Banks

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Signs
Murals
Gargoyles
Pitted Dates
Cornerstones
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
WWII
Texas Centennial
Ghosts
People
Animals
Food
Music
Art

Books
Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps
USA
MEXICO
HOTELS

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Disclaimer
Contributors
Staff
Contact Us

 
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved