Houston 101: The Smallest Cemetary, Right Next To The Tire Store

Way out Long Point, at the corner of Pech Road in the heart of greater Spring Branch, there stands one of the most surreal sights in a city full of them: a tiny Old German cemetery tucked in the corner of a Bridgestone mechanic's shop.

For over 100 years, 80 of the surrounding acres belonged to a farm family named Hillendahl. During that time, 19 members of that family passed away and were buried here.

In the early 1970s, the property taxes got too steep, and family scion Arnold Louis Hillendahl sold the land off to developers, but stubbornly refused to allow his kinfolk to be moved.

Progress -- in the form of tidy subdivisions and drab apartments and strip malls -- marched on around the 1,400-square foot cemetery, which had been fenced off in 1962 and given a historic designation shortly after that.

Today, it stands as one of the more touching reminders that even in bottom-line Houston, some matters, like family pride, can trump the relentless onward march of sprawl.

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