Texas Historical Commission
Red River Archaeology, LLC (RRA) has been contracted by Atmos Energy Corporation (Atmos) to conduct archaeological monitoring of the replacement of a 1.25-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline located within Oakwood Cemetery and extending under adjacent Grand Avenue public right of way (ROW) in Tarrant County. The project area is located within the city limits of Fort Worth, approximately 1.5 miles northwest of the city center and depicted on the Haltom City, Tex. 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle (USGS 1981) (Figure 1). More specifically, the project area is located along Grand Avenue, 160 feet (ft) northeast of the Grand Avenue – Gould Avenue intersection. The purpose of the project is to replace an existing Atmos natural gas pipeline with a new pipeline. The new pipeline will connect to an existing gas meter located at the south façade of a metal maintenance building within Oakwood Cemetery. The existing pipeline will be abandoned in place.
The proposed archaeological Area of Potential Effects (APE) coordinated with the THC in the permit application consisted of a 6.12-meter wide (20 ft) Atmos easement beginning in the privately-owned Oakwood Cemetery at the existing meter and extending 21.15 meters (m) (69 ft 4 inches) in a northwesterly direction to the center-line of Grand Avenue. However, during monitoring, the area of impact was modified and shortened by the construction contractor. No excavation was performed within the paved roadway of Grand Avenue as originally anticipated and the trench was excavated only to intersect with the existing gas line and did not extend to the gas meter. The final APE was shortened from the coordinated length of 21.15 m to the 15.66 m of the actual trench excavation. Depth of impact is anticipated to exceed 1 m (3 ft). Although Atmos will be replacing additional gas lines along the north drive lane and right of way of Grand Avenue, this area is beyond the 25 ft buffer area surrounding the cemetery and was not recommended for monitoring per TAC 13 § 26.7 (Figure 2).
Oakwood Cemetery is not a public cemetery and does not fall under the statutory requirements of TAC 9.191.093: Protection of publicly owned cemeteries. However, in accordance with the Antiquities Code of Texas, RRA proposed to conduct archaeological construction monitoring of the proposed APE as 0.012 acres is located within City of Fort Worth ROW. The remaining section of the APE (.018 acres) is within privately-owned Oakwood Cemetery and was also monitored during construction. No federal undertaking is anticipated for this project; therefore, consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is not required. In the event that a burial(s) was encountered, the project would follow the requirements of the Texas Administrative Code Title 13 Part 2 Chapter 22: Cemeteries; the Texas Health and Safety Code Title 8 Subtitle C Chapter 711: General Provisions Related to Cemeteries; the Texas Penal Code Title 9 Chapter 42 Section 42.08: Abuse of Corpse; and Title 7 Chapter 31.03: Thef.
The proposed project is located within an historic-age cemetery which is listed as a Registered Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) and designated TR-CO77. A separate consultation has been submitted to the Architectural Division of the Texas Historical Commission (THC) on 11 March 2015 due to the RTHL designation. In reply dated 26 March 2015, the Architectural Division agreed with the proposed scope of work and stated that the project “will not affect any historic feature or designated landscape elements of the cemetery” provided areas of trenching are returned to pre-construction condition.
Fieldwork was conducted under the supervision of Charles D. Neel, and Sarah M. Cole, MA, RPA, served as Principal Investigator for the project. Fieldwork was completed on 12 May 2015. The trench excavation location was subjected to 100 percent monitoring (Figure 2). Two general areas of mixed modern and historic glass, ceramic, brick, metal, and composite material were documented from monitored back-dirt during the excavation of the pipeline trench and were recorded as Isolated Finds (IFs) Locality-1 and Locality-2. No graves, grave shafts, or associated artifacts were encountered during construction monitoring. All records associated with this project will be curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory. It is recommended that artifacts recovered from IF Locality-1 (in City of Fort Worth ROW) be discarded as they are highly redundant and lack historical, cultural, or scientific value. Artifacts recovered from IF Locality-2 are located on private property and will be returned to the landowner.
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