New start/a little history

Thanks to some startup funding from the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, I was able to hire art/tech wizard Harry Herskowitz recently to help me redesign the original site, which I had migrated to We have greatly improved the functionality of the site, rescaling it for different devices and introducing more map elements. Harry has also improved the site’s aesthetics. We would be interested to hear what you think. I worry that the text font size might be too small, but maybe that’s the geezer in me.

Obviously, Harry has introduced a new post system for my news section, which used to be comments on the old WordPress site. That means I lose my old breadcrumbs of what’s happened over the years until now, so I share those I want to keep below.

My first news comment appeared on June 11, 2013, when I wrote (in understated pride of my students’ work): “I have added some new content from Spring 2013. Good stuff.” The site had launched in August 2012, so, apparently, it took me a while to get around to the idea of posting. I suppose it still does take me a while.

Unsurprisingly, John Shuck showed up in the next post the following day: “John Shuck is celebrating his 5-year anniversary of volunteer work at Evergreen Cemetery this Saturday, June 15, with a big tour and work day. Please attend if you can! He has expanded lately to work at nearby Woodlawn Cemetery as well.” John’s got at least ten years under his belt now.

Only one month later, I had to post this: “John Shuck just reported that he “can no longer work at Evergreen Cemetery.” What a sad day. He reports that he will be moving his efforts to East End Cemetery, which adjoins Evergreen, so that is one silver lining, at least.”

On October 17, 2013, I spread the news fold to include Shockoe Hill Cemetery, noting that “The Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond are hosting a preservation workshop on Saturday, November 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The presenters will be Catherine Anderson of Raleigh and Mark Morton of Ohio.” The Friends have since held other successful preservation workshops.

WTVR News Channel 6 ran a story on Evergreen’s struggles on October 29, 2013, in time for Halloween.

On February 2, 2014, John Shuck let me know about a site near Short Pump: “Two residents recently contacted the Henrico County Historical Society to identify a possible slave cemetery near Short Pump, which is in danger of being built upon. There are currently no surviving markers, but there are many typical burial depressions in the ground and oral history confirming the site’s use. It is located off Bacova Drive. We’ll see if it can be recognized/preserved.”

Evergreen got more press, this time from the Richmond Times-Dispatch on February 17, 2014.

A tomb at St. John’s churchyard was featured on the list of top ten most endangered artifacts on February 28, 2014: “The chest tomb marking the resting spot of the Reverend Robert Rose, dating to 1751 and located in St. John’s churchyard, was named one of Virginia’s “Top Ten Endangered Artifacts” by the American Association of Museums in 2013. It is currently undergoing restoration due to a recent, special donation.” Sarah Whiting, executive director of the St. John’s Church Foundation, posted a video here.

NBC 12 ran a story on vandalism at East End Cemetery and Hebrew Cemetery on April 10, 2014

On April 28, 2014, I received my first user query. “E” asked about getting access to the podcasts.

May 5, 2014 I had to report this news: “So sad to hear of the passing of Tyler Potterfield. Took a too-brief stroll with him once, a few years back, through Hollywood Cemetery, where it was a joy to see his excitement for the city’s past. His place in Richmond’s landscape will be missed. Nice tribute by Harry Kollatz, Jr.

More end of the semester pride that month: “Just posted some new material from Spring 2014 students on several pages here. Great job everyone!”

July 1, 2014, news on the African Burial Ground: “A little late posting this, but Mayor Jones has withdrawn (presumably temporarily) his proposal to develop Shockoe Bottom.” Referred to Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage.

That same month ran: “Beautiful story on the efforts to uncover East End Cemetery, with John Shuck, on Virginia Currents/public radio.”

In August 2014, again: “Another great story on John Shuck at East End Cemetery. So much recent press yet still such a lonely job for him and a few regulars.”

On August 11 and August 18, 2014, I got to share coverage of this web site project with inimitable radio reporter Sandy Housman for two outlets: “Brief story on public radio about the podcasts and this website. Thank you, Sandy Housman.” “Yet another story on our project by Sandy Housman, on WVTR public radio.” Hayden and Brendan were interviewed with me.

This gets us up through the end of 2014. 2015 and the rest to come in a follow up post.

One response to “New start/a little history”

  1. Harry Avatar

    Happy to be on board!

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