Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Worthy of preservation and appreciation..." (Newsbyte)

In my other blog, I have a feature called the Newsbyte where I feature news articles I've come across. I've decided to use this feature in this blog as well.

As I said in the Purpose statement for this blog, while I like old cemeteries, I don't know as much about them. One of the purposes of this blog is to document my exploration into these cemeteries. I discovered something quite interesting tonight while looking for news on Alabama cemeteries. The article, in the Troy, Alabama Messenger, talks about two cemeteries in the county being added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. The WHAT!?!

The Alabama Historical Commission, a "state agency charged with safeguarding Alabama's historic buildings and sites," maintains a register of important historic cemeteries throughout the state. What a novel concept! I can say that Georgia nor the federal government have anything like this. The National Park Service administers the National Register of Historic Places, but the National Register excludes most cemeteries. Cemeteries must meet special standards in order to be included. From the Nation Register Bulletin, Guidelines For Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places:
To be eligible for the National Register, a cemetery or burial place must be shown to be significant under one or more of the four basic Criteria for Evaluation. Criteria A, B, C, and D indicate the several ways in which a property may be significant in American history, architecture (including the disciplines of landscape architecture and planning), archeology, engineering, and culture. Decisions about the relative significance of cemeteries and burial places can be made only with knowledge of the events, trends, and technologies that influenced practices of caring for and commemorating the dead, and with some concept of the quality and quantity of similar resources in the community, region, State, or nation. 
So, while the National Register is out for listing many cemeteries, seeing a state actively listing them is exciting.  It certainly provides a way of recognition, which can help in obtaining funding for preservation and maintenance.

Not only is this list important from a preservation standpoint, but it provides a great list of places to visit for someone like me. The cemetery program coordinator quoted in the article says it beautifully, "The AHC considers the notable historic cemeteries in this register to be particularly worthy of preservation and appreciation and, therefore, deserving of this special recognition."

The article lists three cemeteries in the Troy area that have been added to the list. The Carter Cemetery, a small family cemetery in Goshen, and the Antioch Cemetery in Shellhorn, a community cemetery dating from the 1840s, are both located in Pike County. The Providence Cemetery in Glenwood in Crenshaw County is also a community cemetery.

The Alabama Historical Commission deserves a kudos for their marvelous list of historic cemeteries!

Commission. Alabama Historical Commission. Accessed 17 July
Potter, Elisabeth Walton and Beth M. Boland. Guidelines For 
     Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places
     National Park Service, 1992.
Treadwell, Jaine. "Two local cemeteries added to historic register." 24 June 2011.


  1. I have done some cool preservation stuff with our state's cemetery association and even designed and built a sign for a forgotten cemetery. I always clean them up when I go through them and stand the flowers upright again. Sometimes, I squat down and say the name of the dead out loud. For some of these folks who have been gone a hundred years, it's the first time someone has uttered their name in decades. It's like for a moment, they are relevant again.

  2. Alabama seems to be a pretty intune state. They also actively promote their paranormal tourism destinations. I like that. Very cool share, Lewis.

  3. I currently live in Mobile, AL and several of the cemeteries here are just fantastic. I especially like Church Street cemetery, which is home to some of the oldest graves in the area; it's beautiful in its decay.