Wednesday, October 10, 2012

With ancient markings etched on weathered stone, Above ruins of the dead and finite dust of hollow bones

Olivewood Cemetery Angel (focus) Head Stone - Houston, Texas

Olivewood Cemetery Headless statue and head stone - Houston, Texas



In 1875, the land, which had previously been used for slave burials, was purchased by Richard Brock, Houston's first black alderman. It opened as a cemetery for black Methodists in 1877. When Olivewood was platted, it was the first African-Americans burial ground within the Houston city limits.

Many 19th century influential African-Americans were buried in the cemetery, including Reverend Elias Dibble, first minister of Trinity United Methodist Church; Reverend Wade H. Logan, also a minister of the church; and James Kyle, a blacksmith; as well as Richard Brock.

The cemetery includes more than 700 family plots around a graceful, elliptical drive that originated at an ornate entry gate. It contains graves of both the well-to-do and those who died in poverty; therefore, the grave markers run the gamut from elaborate Victorian monuments to simple, handmade headstones. Burials at Olivewood Cemetery continued through the 1960s.

In 2003, after decades of neglect and abandonment, the "Descendants of Olivewood," a nonprofit organization, was established to take guardianship of the cemetery, "to provide care and to protect its historical significance."

Olivewood was designated an Historic Texas Cemetery. By 2010 water and vandals threatened to damage graves in a portion of the cemetery.

On a spookier side note:

Over the years, there have been numerous reports of mysterious after-dark sightings and strange movements within the graveyard.
Cathi Bunn, a paranormal investigator, began exploring Olivewood in 1999. One moonlit midnight, Bunn said she videotaped the ghost of Mary White, who was buried in 1888, hovering above her headstone.

Olivewood Cemetery on Wikipedia