January 9, 2019January 9, 2019
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...

May 14, 2018May 14, 2018
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Shockoe Hill Cemetery tour, 5/20

On Sunday, May 20, I will be leading a tour of Shockoe Hill Cemetery at 2:00pm, showcasing the many excellent student projects from this past Spring semester. We have new revelations on Nannie Caskie (the big angel monument) as well as many other stories in the cemetery. Join us there?

April 27, 2018June 1, 2018
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HIST 201 podcasts – Spring 2018

In preparation for the East End Cemetery Community Gathering on April 27, I am posting some of this semester’s student research projects here. Each one offers an in-depth look at a particular grave/individual in the region: J. E. Ferguson (? – 1859), barber, Barton Heights Cemetery. Podcast by Bruno Davila, Blier Smith, and Isaiah Tyler....

April 23, 2018April 23, 2018
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Oakwood’s mortuary chapel

Fascinating new piece by Selden Richardson on the c. 1890 Daubrenet mortuary chapel at Oakwood Cemetery, now threatened by time and decay, in the Shockoe Examiner. There’s been very few studies of such mortuary chapels around town, and this particular study is urgent.