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Carved grave marker, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington. ©Jennifer Law Young

 

Cemetery Preservation

A key long-range HLF initiative is the preservation and restoration of Rockbridge cemeteries – especially the two in Lexington, Stonewall Jackson Memorial and Evergreen.

The Foundation is investing substantial money and time in the cemetery preservation effort, having funded a long-range Jackson Cemetery development proposal, now under consideration by the city and its Cemetery Advisory Board, as well as a practical workshop that addressed specific conservation techniques such as cleaning.  (Did you know that using an ordinary cleaner, such as bleach, on a granite marker is devastating?  That a weed-whacker can open up tiny fissures that let water seep in at the bottom of the stone and cause it to crack?)

The main gates to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in the snow. ©Bruce Young

Older graves in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

Older graves in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

Older graves in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

Older section of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery with large trees. ©Jennifer Law Young

Dogwood blooming in older section of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. ©Jennifer Law Young

Detail of stone carving in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. ©Jennifer Law Young

Older graves in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

Older grave stone in need of repair in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery sign. HLF photo

Jackson monument in the snow, in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. HLF photo

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Jackson Cemetery is the older of the two cemeteries by far, dating to the late 18th century (Evergreen was established in 1880), and thus – with more graves, and older ones – is in greater disrepair. Both, however, are receiving HLF’s attention and investment.

HLF has published a selective walking-tour guide to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery that can be downloaded by clicking on the image to the left, or picked up at the Lexington Visitor Center on East Washington Street.

In 2018, The Theodore C. DeLaney Preservation Fund was established in Professor DeLaney’s honor specifically to promote conservation in Evergreen Cemetery.

Entrance gates to Evergreen Cemetery, Lexington. HLF photo

 
 

For several years as well, and continuing today, HLF has organized and sponsored restoration and improvement efforts at the privately owned, historically-significant McDowell Cemetery, south of Fairfield in Rockbridge County.

Relatively small, local cemeteries, often associated with specific church parishes, have been the focus of HLF programs and tours. In 2017, for example, HLF’s Preservation Month programs included a scholarly discussion of Mt. Lydia Cemetery, a black burial ground near Glasgow in southern Rockbridge, and, separately, a tour of five churches along Buffalo Creek in the county’s southwest, four of which have cemeteries.

Oxford Presbyterian Church Cemetery. ©Jennifer Law Young