This blog is brought to you by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as a place for citizens who care for, and about Virginia's historic cemeteries. Here you will find information on workshops, cemetery preservation, and other resources. For more information about the Department of Historic Resources, visit

Material on this site is copyrighted by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (2014).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mark your Calendars for October 3-4, 2014

Save the date for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources' 10th (!!!) cemetery workshop hosted by the Menokin Foundation in Warsaw, VA on October 3-4, 2014. Details to be announced. To join the mailing list for information, contact Dee DeRoche.

Harrisonburg Workshop Recap

Dr. Carole Nash discussing her research and GPS mapping project at Newtown
The Harrisonburg workshop was a great success. We had a full house of very engaged participants. At the end of day one, we were treated to a tour of Newtown Cemetery, Harrisonburg's African American cemetery and the heart of the Newtown neighborhood. We could all feel the power of this place. Many thanks to the Friends of Newtown Cemetery, Dr. Carole Nash and her students at JMU, and the Massanutten chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia for a truly wonderful event.
Joanna Wilson Green discussing Victorian funerary symbolism

Day two featured Woodbine Cemetery. You'll always find us in the Victorian section talking iconography!

Miss this workshop? The next one is scheduled for October 3-4, a bit further east at historic Menokin in Warsaw, VA. Stay tuned for more information.

Friday, April 18, 2014

UPDATE: WORKSHOP FULL! Register now for May 30-31 Cemetery Workshop in Harrisonburg, VA

Join us May 30 and 31 for a cemetery conservation and documentation workshop in Harrisonburg, VA. This workshop is geared toward individuals generally interested in historic cemeteries, genealogists, cemetery caretakers and landowners, land managers, and more.

Harrisonburg Community Mausoleum, Woodbine Cemetery
Come learn about how to identify and record marked and unmarked cemeteries, steps toward protection, laws affecting cemeteries, and best practices in marker preservation and conservation.

The fee for both days of the workshop is $60, or $40 for attending Friday’s session only. Participants, however, must attend Friday’s sessions in order to attend the Saturday workshop. Both days of the workshop will be held rain or shine.

To register, fill out this form and mail or email to Dee DeRoche. Registration/payment deadline is May 12.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Register Now for May 18-19 Workshop on the Eastern Shore

Flowers are optional but participants will be encouraged to bring mirrors and cameras, and clipboards and questions during a forthcoming Cemetery Workshop to be offered by staff of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources at Christ Episcopal Church, located at 16304 Courthouse Road, in Eastville.  

The two-day workshop, offered in partnership with Preservation Virginia, will be held May 18 and 19.

The first day’s presentations will cover topics ranging from funerary symbolism to training in the appropriate care and maintenance of grave yards, to genealogy, mortuary archaeology, and Virginia burial law.

The second day will feature on-location training sessions at Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery focusing on stewardship issues for cemeteries, including the cleaning and conservation of stone and masonry, and techniques for photographing historic funerary monuments, and identification of symbols used on grave markers, among other topics.

Early registration is encouraged as workshop space is limited. The fee for both days of the workshop is $60, and $40 for just Friday. Participants must attend Friday’s sessions in order to attend the Saturday workshop. Fifty spaces are available for the Friday lectures and Saturday’s training is limited to 25 participants. Both days of the workshop will be held rain or shine.

Speakers and workshop leaders will include archaeologists, cultural resource professionals, and local history and genealogy experts.

For registration information, please contact Dee DeRoche at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) by email at  or by phone at (804) 482-6441.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Evergreen Cemetery Highway Marker Dedication, Richmond

A new state historical highway marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to honor Evergreen Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery in Richmond, will be unveiled and dedicated Sunday, March 25, at the marker’s location at the cemetery. 
DHR Staff Members Participating in a May 2010 cleanup
of Evergreen Cemetery

The dedication ceremony will begin at 2 p.m., at Evergreen Cemetery, located at 3600 East Richmond Road.  The ceremony is open to the public. For more information on speakers at the event, keep an eye on DHR's website.

Evergreen Cemetery was established in 1891 as a burying ground “for many of Virginia’s most influential African-American residents,” as the marker states. Among those buried there are pioneering business woman Maggie L. Walker and newspaper editor John Mitchell Jr.

Walker (1864-1934), a native of Richmond, was “president and founder of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank,” in the words of the marker. In addition to chartering a bank, she founded a newspaper, and established a store many years before women in the U.S. had the right to vote. The National Park Service operates a museum about Walker inside her former home in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. 

John Mitchell Jr. (1863-1929), who will also be honored with a new state historical marker later this year, was editor of the black newspaper the Richmond Planet. Mitchell gained a reputation as a fierce champion of African-American rights during the era of segregation. He, too, once resided in Jackson Ward. 

The Evergreen Cemetery marker was approved in March of 2011 by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which administers the marker program.

Virginia’s program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,200 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation.  For more information on the marker program, click here.

Text of the marker:

Evergreen Cemetery
In 1891, Evergreen Cemetery was established as a preeminent resting place for many of Virginia's most influential African-American residents.  These include Maggie L. Walker, president and founder of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and John Mitchell, Jr., champion of African-American rights and editor of the Richmond Planet newspaper.  J.Henry Brown, a stonemason by trade, designed many of the tombstones erected here.  By the early 1970s, the cemetery had fallen into disrepair.  In 1975, volunteers from the Maggie L. Walker Historical Foundation led an effort to restore Evergreen to its original glory.

Monday, February 27, 2012

UPDATED! 2012 Cemetery Workshops

We're busy at DHR and Preservation Virginia planning for 2012's slate of cemetery workshops. We hope to hold three this year, with one in late spring and two this upcoming fall. We'll be visiting parts of the states we haven't covered before, so stay tuned for details on a workshop near you!

UPDATE 3/21/12 We're happy to announce two confirmed workshops. One in Eastville, VA in Northampton County at Christ Episcopal Church on May 18-19, and another in Leesville, VA (location TBA) on September 22-23. Stay tuned for more info!

View 2012 Workshops in a larger map

Friday, April 15, 2011

Virginia Cemetery Preservation Featured in the Washington Post

Caretaker Vernon Peterson of Rock Hill Cemetery in Loudoun County, Virginia expresses his concerns about the future of this burial ground after his tenure ends in an article published in today's Washington Post. This great piece highlights threats common to cemeteries throughout Virginia. DHR's Tom Klatka describes our agency's efforts to raise awareness through our recent cemetery workshops and other initiatives.

To read the full article, click here. You can also view a gallery of photos from this story.