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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, Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) and Evergreen.

The Foundation is investing substantial money and time in the cemetery preservation effort, having funded a long-range Oak Grove 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?)

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The main gates to Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) Cemetery in the snow. ©Bruce Young

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Older graves in Oak Grove Cemetery. HLF photo

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Older graves in Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) Cemetery. HLF photo

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Older graves in Oak Grove Cemetery. HLF photo

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Older section of Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) Cemetery with large trees. ©Jennifer Law Young

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Dogwood blooming in older section of Oak Grove Cemetery. ©Jennifer Law Young

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Detail of stone carving in Oak Grove Cemetery. ©Jennifer Law Young

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Older graves in Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) Cemetery. HLF photo

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Older grave stone in need of repair in Oak Grove Cemetery. HLF photo

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The old Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery sign. The cemetery is now named Oak Grove Cemetery. HLF photo

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Jackson monument in the snow, in Oak Grove Cemetery. HLF photo

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Oak Grove 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 Oak Grove (formerly 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