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Cemetery Preservation

Cemetery

A key long-range HLF initiative is the preservation and restoration of Rockbridge cemeteries. In addition to two in Lexington, Oak Grove (formerly Stonewall Jackson Memorial) and Evergreen, the Foundation is currently spearheading a restoration project at Falling Spring Presbyterian Church Cemetery, the most significant in the county, and in Fairfield at the McDowell family cemetery, where almost 100 pioneers, including many early political and medical leaders, are buried.

Historic Falling Spring, shown above, is the resting site of four Revolutionary War soldiers, two from the War of 1812, thirty Confederate soldiers, and many from World Wars I and II.  Historic Lexington Foundation is collaborating here with Hamric Memorials, and restoration of fallen and broken gravestones is under way.

In Lexington, Oak Grove Cemetery is the older of the two cemeteries, dating to the late 18th century and thus – with more graves, and older ones – is in greater disrepair. Both, however, are receiving HLF’s attention and investment. The Foundation sponsored a professional analysis and master plan for Oak Grove and has undertaken a number of specific gravestone repair projects. HLF has published a useful, abundantly illustrated guide to important graves in Oak Grove. It's available free at the cemetery entrance — or you can click on the cover image at the right and download it.

A useful tool for descendants and researchers is a census of Oak Grove,  begun by Washington and Lee University. In searchable form, it shows names, dates and exact burial locations, as well as other information in some cases. The census is not complete but includes 6,400 entries, mostly for burials through the 20th century.

Evergreen, established in 1880, has recently had a facelift to its entrance, which has been badly damaged over decades by elements and errant vehicles. HLF and the city collaborated on that project. The Foundation is also restoring individual stones in Evergreen under an HLF-commissioned plan.

 

(Helpful tip to anyone who wants to prevent unnecessary gravestone decay: Did you know that using an ordinary cleaner, such as bleach, on a granite marker is devastating? Or 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?)

Cemetery Brochure cover
Evergreen Cemetery cover
Cemetery

Oak Grove

Gravestone

Oak Grove

Cemetery

 McDowell

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