June 12, 2019June 13, 2019

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...

February 4, 2019February 13, 2019

Disappearing the enslaved

How do tens of thousands of people disappear? Authorities in the city of Richmond have honed this process. Today, the second African Burial Ground, also known as the Potters field, is again being edged out. The old graveyard began at the northeastern corner of Fifth and Hospital Streets in 1816, and it received the bodies...

January 24, 2019January 24, 2019

East End goes the way things go

Today I attended the court hearing which ruled on the Enrichmond Foundation‘s request to acquire East End Cemetery. It was a depressing spectacle. We got here because the directors of the East End Burial Association all died out, and its corporation was dissolved by the state, leaving its assets (the 16-acre historic cemetery) in legal...

January 9, 2019January 9, 2019

New website from Friends of East End

The Friends of East End Cemetery have outdone themselves with their recent unveiling of a gorgeous and information-rich website. Jolene Smith worked hard on it as well. It is by far our best public resource on the cemetery to date. I am sure I will be using it again and again with our students. Go...

December 12, 2018December 17, 2018

The penitentiary burials

Local archaeologist Ellen Chapman recently completed a useful dissertation at the College of William and Mary titled “Buried Beneath the River City: Investigating an Archaeological Landscape and its Community Value in Richmond, Virginia.” In it, she detailed the archaeological recovery of a number of burials at the state penitentiary grounds. The penitentiary was built in 1800...

November 15, 2018December 20, 2018

Emek Sholom

On November 11, 2018, organizers at Emek Sholom Holocaust Cemetery in Forest Lawn held their annual commemoration, this year marking the 80th anniversary of Germany’s Kristallnacht. Emek Sholom translates as “valley of peace,” and the memorial was unveiled in 1955 by relatives of those who perished during the Holocaust. It is among the earliest such memorials...

September 12, 2018September 24, 2018

Ground penetrating radar at St. John’s churchyard

Many folks in the preservation community are talking about the possibilities presented by ground penetrating radar, a relatively new technology in which pulses or waves are manipulated by a computer to reveal belowground shapes or features. This week, the St. John’s Church Foundation brought in Brian Whiting, a geologist on the faculty of Seattle University,...

August 10, 2018August 10, 2018

The Charlottesville anniversary and the Monument Avenue commission report

We approach the one-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville which left one dead, over thirty injured, and a nation scarred and seared. The purported prompt to the rally was the city’s decision to remove its Robert E. Lee equestrian monument (erected in 1924) from a public park. The horrifying events of...

August 8, 2018August 8, 2018

Shockoe Cemetery’s stewards

It was a common story – a vandal recently ransacked Shockoe Hill Cemetery, among several others, and stole a number of items — gravestones, interpretive markers, and military insignia. The story took a turn, however, when the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery noticed that the items were missing in mid-June 2018. The Friends reviewed their...

June 4, 2018June 4, 2018

Enrichmond, East End, and Style Weekly

I got some news recently that I am passing along. The attempt by the Enrichmond Foundation to acquire Richmond’s East End Cemetery has moved along significantly. In legal terms, this notable African American cemetery is abandoned property, as its trustees have all died or disappeared. A legal advertisement of the court proceedings to transfer the property to...