forgotten, this seven-acre piece of ground is the final resting place of some
most prominent Black citizens from the 1870s through the 1930s.|
the site has been
hidden behind the warehouses of a large grocery distributor just south of Interstate
10,. The stone markers
and tombstones have been covered in unruly privet, and entangled by wild vines
while gravesite borders have been split by the sprouting seeds and roots of Hackberry
and Chinaberry trees.
The settling of Houston’s
notorious "gumbo" soil and vigorous root growth has wrecked the original
cement curbing along the
cemetery’s promenade and dislodged some monuments while vandals (no doubt)
contributed to the toppling of other stones.
Statuary is limited to a
pair of angels and two stone lions (both guarding the same angel), and what few
iron fences remain are broken and bent from fallen tree branches by unnamed storms.
It is possible that other iron fences were removed for scrap drives of World
Proclaimed a Historic Cemetery in 2006, Olivewood
has remained mostly cloaked in vegetation until recent months. A visit in the
summer of 2010 showed only about 25% of the gravesites visible, facing impenetrable
walls of brush and undergrowth on the eastern and northern edges.
have been coming to the
site on the 2nd Saturday of each month to slowly make progress on this once
Herculean task. It’s now estimated that 80% of the graves are now visible although
many other unmarked interments will never be revealed.
| Unlike ceremonial
photos of projects just getting underway with shiny tools, this one of three NCCC
workers is unposed. Supervisor Katie (green shirt) spoke for the whole team when
she said: “I don’t know what a clean shovel looks like.”|
photo, February 2011
|Our visit on February
12th 2011 had two volunteer groups present. One was a local Scout Troop helping
one of their own complete his Eagle Scout project, while the other was a group
of NCCC volunteers based out of Denver, doing yeoman’s work of clearing brush
and timber as they earn credit toward college tuition.|
Both groups remained
at their tasks throughout our visit, but were kind enough pause at their labors
to pose for the group photos shown here.
|Volunteers from Troop
1020 of the Sam Houston Area Council with TE mascot and ambassador of goodwill,
Civilian Community Corps Team - |
Patrick McMullen from Michigan, Jennifer Lombardo
from New York, Robert McLaughlin from Ohio, Corwin Mays from Ohio. Aliesha Kearse
from Maryland, Lynea Dempsey from Missouri, Sheila Smith from Illinios, Ben Good
from Kansas, Ryan Jordan From Massachusetts, and Katie Hanchuruck from Connecticut.
The team is part of Americorps NCCC a national community service organization,
photo, February 2011
|Soon-to-be Eagle Scout
Nicholas Start standing over the “Mirror Grave” of one W.A. Harris. Nicholas stated
that shards of a mirror that “corrected” the reversed tile nameplate were found
scattered beneath the headstone.
(See last paragraph of Historical
TE photo, February 2011
signs begin on Washington Avenue near Heights Blvd." TE photo, February 2011|
|Book Hotel Here
- Expedia Affiliate Network|