Friday, August 31, 2012

Lynchburg, VA - Historical Old City Cemetery

by Donna L. Watkins

Lynchburg, Virginia is less than two hours away, so we took a day trip early one cool summer morning. The Old City Cemetery has several historical buildings and a lot of wide open spaces to roam. Cemeteries are peaceful places while most of the world spends Saturdays running about.

Overgrown Lotus Pond in 2002
)Note difference from picture in 2012 below)
We had been there 10 years before but only visited a small area of this 26-acre cemetery. There was a beautiful lotus pond that I really enjoyed at that time. It's in the Butterfly Garden, but had obviously become quite overgrown, although still so beautiful! This time the pond was basically empty compared to our previous visit as you can see from the photos in this post. What a contrast!

There was a specific focus on African-American history from slavery to integration. This cemetery was the only burial ground in Lynchburg open to African Americans until 1885 and 75% of the estimated 20,000 people buried here, from 1806 to the present, are African-American.

Pest House Medical Museum, depicting conditions in a Civil War quarantine hospital, included a medicinal herb garden.

Butterfly Garden Pond Without Lotus Plants in 2012
Cemetery Center houses an office and small museum of mourning customs, artifacts, burial records, a gift shop, and even public restrooms. A rare find in a cemetery.

The Hearse House & Caretakers' Museum had an original 1900 horse-drawn hearse from a funeral home that began business in 1817 and are still in business in Lynchburg. This building also housed a grave markers exhibit.

The Station House Museum was a 1898 C&O Railway depot interpreting local railroad history. The Confederate Section contains 2200 graves of Civil War soldiers from 14 states. Seeing those markers all lined up makes you really hate war. View the Photo Journal. It has lots of information typed into the descriptions of the photos.

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