Woodland in the spotlight

Woodland Cemetery is garnering renewed attention as the city of Richmond prepares to rename one of its main thoroughfares Arthur Ashe Boulevard. A public celebration is set for June 22, 2019, and all the attention on Ashe has stirred interest and brought more visitors to his resting place in Woodland. Ownership of the private cemetery is in transition, with reports that the longtime owners, the Entzmingers, are planning an imminent sale to the Reverend David Frazier, pastor at Richmond’s Mount Sinai Baptist Church.

Families and descendants have long cared for family plots in the cemetery, as David Harris has done for the section containing his uncle Ashe for at least a dozen years. But overall maintenance has fallen dramatically during the past decade.

Kathleen Harrell, a Henrico county teacher, has led a resurgence of volunteer energies in the cemetery since late 2018. Her work has been supplemented by county teams, including the county manager as well as those needing community service hours. John Shuck has also attended regularly. They have done a tremendous job clearing dumped trash and tending to plots throughout the grounds. They have also uncovered a number of markers. Harris says that he has regularly seen tour buses come by the neglected site to visit Ashe. Hopefully the cemetery can turn its momentum here.

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