How do you clean a gravestone? What do strange symbols on tombstones mean? How do we honor our military men and women on tombstones?

The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, funded by a grant from the City of Plano Heritage Commission, presents Tombstone Mysteries on Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. This free, family friendly event welcomes up to 300 guests to Plano Mutual Cemetery, located at the corner of Jupiter and 18th Street, for a unique community preservation project.

Plano Profile reached out to Jeff Campbell, Co-Director of The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, for some insight into the event. Jeff told us the event has three main components:

The Mystery Tour
Participants will be given a packet that includes a numbered cemetery map and a corresponding sheet of names and “mysteries.” Using the map, they will be able to locate the gravestone, where a plastic folder with the answer to the “mystery” will be found. Stickers will also be in the packet for participants to place by each name on the list. When all the names have stickers, up to 20 winners will be entered into a drawing for a copy of the book, Plano’s Historic Cemeteries.

Gravestone Cleaning
Under the supervision of professionals with Texas Cemetery Restoration, LLC and The Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to clean gravestones using water and D/2, a biodegradable solution that removes mold, algae, mildew, lichens, and air pollutants.

Veteran Recognition
Participants will be provided with a map of all the veterans buried in Plano Mutual Cemetery, and in the tradition of the old-time “Decoration Days,” they will place carnations on the graves. (Carnations are used instead of plastic flags because they are biodegradable.)

Preserve Plano’s history at Tombstone Mysteries! There will be food, drinks and fun for all. Children must be accompanied by a parent. The event is free but you must register by calling 972.941.2117 or by visiting

Brit Mott

Brit is a Leadership Plano Class 25 graduate and Leadership Frisco Class 10 graduate. She received her Master’s in Journalism from the University of North Texas and her Bachelor’s in Mass Communication...