Storm Cleanup a Grave Concern
by Mike Brown - Reporter Editor
Rockdale Reporter - 2017-03-02
Wayne Franklin has a big job to do. He’s cleaning up debris from the Feb. 20 storm that brought 100 mile-per-hour winds to Rockdale.
He’s not alone in that, of course. But Franklin’s task is unique. He’s tackling the cleanup in Rockdale’s Old City Cemetery.
It’s on a hilltop off Main Street just south of the Union Pacific tracks. With towering, if not particularly strong, cedar (juniper) trees sticking up into the tornado-like gusts it was a prime target for the storm.
It’s estimated at least 30 trees are down in all areas of the cemetery, which is so old it houses Civil War veterans and hasn’t seen a burial in many decades.
STEADY WORK —
Franklin has been on the job several days and has many more to go. He works for a cedar shop and is donating the labor in return for the wood “liberated” from the ground, and the air, by the high winds.
The first question he usually gets is “where’s the rest of the crew?” “I am the crew,” he smiles.
With such a daunting task most people wouldn’t know where to begin, but it doesn’t phase him in the least.
MAN WITH A PLAN —“I’ve got it in my mind what I need to do,” he said. “There are a couple of places I know I’m going to have to be pretty careful for safety’s sake.”
There’s a twinkle in his eye as he adds: “Some may say I’m taking my own time, but I got enough of rushing around when I was a truck driver.”
Other cemeteries were also hit hard. A number of trees were felled in the Milano City Cemetery
Rockdale Old City Cemetery
From US 79, turn south on FM 908 -
one block past railroad tracks
One man, one tornado
Remember the old Texas Rangers’ saying “one-ranger, one riot?” There wasn’t officially a tornado in Rockdale Feb. 20, but meet the one man who is cleaning up the mess in the place where 100-mile-per-hour winds struck the hardest. Wayne Franklin is going to be a busy man in Rockdale’s Old City Cemetery for several weeks. He’s the “crew” cleaning up at least 30 trees downed when the winds struck. What does the rest of the cemetery look like?
All photos and article from Rockdale Reporter
Above: Wayne Franklin is the cleanup crew for old cemetery.
Below: Felled trees, branches entrap history marker.
Some markers fared better than others as trees fell.
Storms ripped out tops of tallest, and oldest, trees.
More than 30 trees are down in Rockdale’s Old City Cemetery, on a hilltop just south of the Union Pacific tracks on South Main (FM 908).