Continuing my history of my historical website focusing on historical sites, for 2015:
On March 10, 2015, I publicly stated that I was “Taking the plunge now – I have started writing an overall history of Richmond’s historic cemeteries. Hopefully will lead to upgrades throughout the site here. So far, I have rough drafts of chapters 1-3, on St. John’s churchyard, the burial ground in Shockoe Bottom, and Shockoe Hill/Barton Heights. Moving on to Hebrew Cemetery next.” That upped the ante for my still-formulating manuscript. I’ve made it through chapter 5 now.
On April 8, 2015, I got another query from a user. Mike asked: “Am looking for help to find the grave of Patrick Mccrehan who died in the Richmond area sometime around 1910 -1930. He had been a locksmith and lived on Cary Street.” We found him at Mt. Calvary: “He is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery, which makes sense since he seems to have been an Irish Catholic immigrant. He died on July 10, 1912 and was interred in Section 7. The cemetery has a great database with all their burials and interment locations: http://mcalvary.com/.”
On May 27, 2015, I noted that “The last of four community conversations regarding the fate of the human remains recovered from the 19th-century well at the Medical College of Virginia will be held at MLK Middle School in Richmond, on Saturday, May 30, starting at 9:00am. Everyone is invited.”
In September 2015, an exhibit on East End Cemetery opened at U.R. Downtown: “Wonderful new exhibit now showing at U.R. Downtown: “All Our Sorrows Heal,” on the recent work at East End Cemetery. Kudos to Brian Palmer and Erin Hollaway Palmer on the exhibit.”
That month, Hollywood Cemetery launched a major website upgrade: “Hollywood Cemetery recently upgraded its website in a major way, allowing visitors to take customized, GPS-referenced tours with an interactive map and information on nearly every burial there, including a searchable burial records database.”
Continuing on the Hollywood theme: “On Wednesday, September 23, I will be giving a public talk on “The Early Rivals of Hollywood Cemetery.” It is sponsored by the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery and will start at 7:00pm at the St. Catherine’s School Middle School Auditorium on Grove Avenue. See you there?”
Around Hollywood 2015, a user asked me where Mt. Calvary was located. Not many people seem to know about it.
By the end of 2015, a co-teaching opportunity arose, with the godfather of this site: “This spring 2016 semester, I will be team-teaching a seminar on Richmond’s historic burial grounds with the University of Richmond’s Douglas Winiarski, whose initial idea started this whole project. We will be blending VCU students with U.R. students and bringing in nationally-recognized speakers for our site visits.” It was a great experience. Doug’s own class website can be found here. Mine from that semester is here. Doug has great friends; he brought in Erik Seeman and Ed Linenthal to speak to our classes. I plugged our students’ blog posts here later that spring 2016 semester.
Interesting news further afield in 2016: “On Saturday, April 30, there will be a Dedication Service for the recently reclaimed Corhaven Graveyard, a slave burial ground in Shenandoah County, Virginia. See http://www.corhavengraveyard.org/.”
Also in April 2016, I made this announcement: “Great news! John Shuck announced that volunteer cleanup efforts will include Evergreen Cemetery again (in addition to East End Cemetery) starting in May.” Marvin Harris joined the effort and got things jump-started again at Evergreen.
After more than a year of deliberation, the VCU Well project committee made this announcement possible in June 2016: “VCU’s representatives on the East Marshall Street Well Project have recommended that the human remains found on the MCV campus, used for anatomical study in the nineteenth century, be interred in Richmond’s African Burial Ground.”
On July 10, 2016, a big headline posted: “Big news: the volunteer effort at East End and Evergreen Cemeteries was just awarded $400,000 “seed money” from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, to aid in the sites’ cleanup. Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the grounds recently and endorsed the award. Congratulations to all the volunteers.” It now seems that there were some serious strings attached.
July 14, 2016, I announced: “Switched to a new website url address this week, obviously: richmondcemeteries.org. Trying to get better map and location functions, too.” It feels like I had made this switch a long time prior to last summer. I still wonder about losing traffic/confusing visitors/moving off VCU’s WordPress.
In August 2016, “Henrico County is putting up a new sign to mark the site of three historic African-American cemeteries near Regency Mall, squeezed by development.” A similar, hitherto unmarked cemetery along Ziontown Road in the same region of Henrico County faced removal recently in March 2017. A builder wanted to put houses on the site. Thanks to local resident Cindy Georgallis for rallying the troops against the cemetery’s removal. Thanks to her, it appears removal or displacement is not immanent. Ziontown was a freedpeople’s village founded after the Civil War. Cindy has started a campaign to raise one thousand dollars for a county historical marker there.
The Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery recently did some creative thinking and got the city interested in hosting a mausoleum for new burials at the historic cemetery. My announcement appeared in August 2016: “Nice piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this weekend on Shockoe Hill Cemetery and the work of the Friends group there. Includes details on plans to open new burial options at the site.”
In October 2016, Halloween season: “Unveiling of new grave marker for Dr. Richard Tancil at East End Cemetery on Saturday, October 22, at noon. Then, later that evening, Fancy Me Mad program at St. John’s churchyard at 5:30pm.”
I recently found out what wokdocs means. See for yourself with this announcement from November 8, 2016: “Cool new time-lapse video showing the recovery efforts at East End Cemetery, featuring Erin Hollaway Palmer.”
2017 starts to feel less historical to me now. One more related post to follow.