Monday, September 26, 2011

Evergreen Cemetery, Revisited

this past weekend, after being excessively cooped up by the miserable, icky weather, i got a wild hair and decided to ride across town to Evergreen Cemetery, the Richmond black community's answer to Hollywood -- a fiasco that, sad to say, continues to deteriorate even as some in the community fight to reclaim it from oblivion.

it's worth noting that the volunteer crew has worked it's way from the south gate up towards the center of the old part of the grounds, where luminaries like Maggie Walker are buried. Still, like the other reclaimed sections, what's been uncovered is much worse for the decades of neglect.

a bit of whimsy in the midst of the general disorder -- a child's toy horse and a ball within the rusted perimeter of a family plot. Part of the misery of Evergreen is the casual dumping of trash that seems to have gone on there.

In a year or two, the stones that have been made visible again after untold hours of volunteer work will no doubt return to oblivion. The job of keeping these grounds maintained is just too big; there's no group or authority willing to undertake the job of preserving the gravesites.

It's obvious that this headstone, propped as it is against a yucca plant, doesn't really have much of a chance of remaining upright...

Back to the infamous Braxton mausoleum, where grave robbers have apparently returned to disturb the remains there -- or at least tried.

The thieves have managed to remove this casket from the crypt, but did not appear to be able to gain access to the contents -- which is just as well. What a damn mess.

This appears to be the tool the Braxton vandals used to try to widen the opening to the mausoleum. It's all the more disgusting, since this stone will never be returned to its rightful place (others nearby are broken to pieces!).

This is the only statue in Evergreen that I'm aware of is this one, that is across the road from the Walker family plot. It's survived in remarkably good shape, considering the general shambles of the site. Behind it sits a big dumpster, which is being used while this area is rehabilitated.

When a grave marker is uncovered after decades of being overgrown with vines and other vegetation, it often reveals intricate carvings...

Marker at the entrance to a family plot. Often no individual gravestones remain.

The past month brought with it both an earthquake and a hurricane, but the storm seems to be responsible for most of the damage on the site -- including a number of downed trees.

I'm looking forward to coming back after the frost comes and kills off the mosquitoes and a lot of this vegetation. There's so much to discover at this site, and so far I've hardly started.

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