Volunteers working hard to clear, maintain cemetery
3/23/2018, 10 a.m.
Re “VCU center developing master plan for historic Evergreen Cemetery,” Free Press March 15-17 edition:
We’re writing to offer a clarification to your article. Toward the end of the story about Evergreen Cemetery, the writer refers to “adjoining neglected and abandoned East End Cemetery.” In fact, a huge swath of East End has been cleared for years and is being maintained year-round by volunteers.
There has been a robust reclamation and restoration effort at East End Cemetery since the summer of 2013. Roughly 5 acres of the 16-acre cemetery have been reclaimed during more than 300 volunteer workdays and thousands of additional hours put in by core volunteers. There have been 7,000 volunteer worker visits in that time, including 2,000 last year.
Thousands of plots have been cleared and roughly 3,000 grave markers have been retrieved from beneath the vines and dirt. Fewer than half the graves we uncover have markers, which means we’ve found an estimated 6,000 graves out of the estimated 17,500-plus burials in the cemetery.
After we find a marker, we wash and photograph it. We post these images to FindAGrave.com so descendants can see their loved ones’ grave markers and final resting places, which may have been obscured for decades.
This effort has been spearheaded by the Friends of East End Cemetery, originally an informal group, now a 501(c)(3). The Friends partner with descendants, community members, scholars and institutions to do more than physical reclamation. We have been prime movers in reclaiming the powerful, often untold, stories of the community interred at the cemetery.
For more information on what’s happening, check out www.friendsofeastend.com. And if you’re interested in volunteering, visit our online workday calendar, then come on down.
President, Board of Directors
Friends of East End Cemetery Inc.