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Houston | Texas Cemeteries

Gravesites of Houstonís
Olivewood Cemetery

Historic Cemetery

Houstonís 4th Ward
Between Heights Blvd, Washington Avenue, I-10 and Studemont
Directional signs begin on Washington Avenue near Heights Blvd.

Olivewood Cemetery Historical Marker

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Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Baker Angel
TE photo, February 2011

Olivewood's Centerpiece Angel
Monument to dentist Milton Baker erected by his wife.

Historical Marker

Olivewood Cemetery

This cemetery served the early African-American community in Houston for approximately 100 years. The Olivewood Cemetery Association incorporated in 1875 and purchased 5.5 acres of this property that same year from Elizabeth Morin Slocomb. The organization bought two adjacent acres in 1917. Also known in its early years as Olive Wood, Hollow Wood and Hollywood, it is one of the oldest known platted cemeteries in the city. The original 444 family plots comprising over 5,000 burial spaces were laid out along an elliptical drive. The burial ground contains several hundred marked graves, in addition to an unknown number of unmarked graves.

Interred here are pivotal leaders of Houstonís post-emancipation African-American community, including the pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Elias Dibble; businessman James B. Bell; Alderman and landowner Richard Brock; attorney J. Vance Lewis; educator James D. Ryan; physician Russell F. Ferrill; and dentist Milton A. Baker. Also buried here are ex-slaves, laborers, sororal and fraternal organization members, and military veterans.

This cemetery features obelisks, statuary, curbing and interior fencing. The burial ground also includes examples of pre-emancipation burial practices, including upright pipes (symbolizing the path between the worlds of the living and the dead), ocean shells as grave ornaments and text containing upside down or backwards letters (as used in some West African cultures to signify death). Today, Olivewood Cemetery remains as a key historical site in Houston, serving as a testament to the foresight and perseverance of the cemetery founders.
Historic Texas Cemetery Ė 2006
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery historical marker
Olivewood Cemetery Historical Marker
TE photo, February 2011
Houston TX - Historic Olivewood Cemetery overview
TE photo, February 2011
View from the NW corner. Downtown Houston can be seen in the background (right) behind parked trucks of Grocer's Supply Co.
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Iron Gate
TE photo, October 2010
Iron gating from 2010
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Annie Josey Tombstone
TE photo, February 2011

"Queen of the Neches Chamber
4791 Beaumont, Texas"
Unearthed by the NCCC Team in February of 2011

Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery  Hackberry Tree and Tombstone
TE photo, February 2011
A tombstone firmly held by Hackberry trees
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery  Masonic Veteran
TE photo, February 2011
WWI Veteran showing Masonic Membership
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery molded concrete tombstone
TE photo, February 2011
Many concrete tombstones had their inscriptions formed by a mold (examples above and below).
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Odd Fellow tombstone
TE photo, February 2011
Another molded tombstone, this one with indented sides, shows the three-linked chain symbol of the International Order of Odd Fellows.
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Prof coleman tombstone
TE photo, February 2011
Academic or piano player? "Professor" was once used for both. A very small stone - about one foot tall.
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery,Reverend A.F. Jackson, murdered
TE photo, February 2011
The Reverend A.F. Jackson was "Murdered at Dallas, Texas (December 12, 1889)"
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Rev Henry Stewart Grave
TE photo, February 2011
Vandalized tombstone of the Reverend Henry Stewart of Greenville, Kentucky. "Gone before us, oh, our Father, to the spirit land."
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Baker Angel
TE photo, February 2011
The Baker Angel (detail)
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Baker Monument Base
TE photo, October 2010
Base of Baker Monument
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Second  Angel
TE photo, February 2011
Olivewood Cemetery's "Second" Angel
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery Missing Angel
TE photo, October 2010
Missing statue from 2010 visit
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery -  King Grave site
TE photo, October 2010
King gravesite from 2010 visit
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery - root damage
TE photo, February 2011
Broken grave curbing caused by unmaintained growth
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery, Aparil 2008 sign
TE photo, February 2011
The homemade sign was erected in April of 2008.
Houston TX - Olivewood Cemetery guidlines
TE photo, February 2011
"...under the guidelines of the THC."
Houston TX - Historic Olivewood Cemetery Sign
"Directional signs begin on Washington Avenue near Heights Blvd." TE photo, February 2011
A Visit to Houstonís Olivewood Cemetery
© John Troesser
February 14, 2011

  • A Visit to Houstonís Olivewood Cemetery
    Long forgotten, this seven-acre piece of ground is the final resting place of some of Houstonís most prominent Black citizens from the 1870s through the 1930s... Proclaimed a Historic Cemetery in 2006... more


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    Houston, Texas | Texas Cemeteries | Texas
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