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Olivewood Cemetary At 1300 Court St.


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  • 3 years later...

This isn't from GHPA - it's from the Chron's Heights blog - but it's another cleanup project, and so I thought I'd add it here.

Prospective Eagle Scout leading Olivewood cleanup

[saturday 11/3/07]

Heights area prospective Eagle Scout Blage Ledbetter is in the midst of a project, one of his final requirements before achieving his Eagle rank, cleaning up Olivewood Cemetery, a historic African-American graveyard in a long-neglected southern corner of what used to be the Heights. (A map of the location can be found here and a great Wikipedia entry on the cemetery can be found here.) The cemetery is just south of Interstate 10 along a bend in White Oak Bayou behind Party Boy and Grocer's Supply. To get there from the Heights, take Studemont south to Center Street. Turn right, heading west, on Center Street. Then turn right again, heading north, on Harvard. Then there's yet one more right turn, on Hicks Street. Take Hicks east to Court, turn left on Court, heading north, and the cemetery is at the dead end of Court Street.

The 8-acre Olivewood Cemetery was the first cemetery for freed slaves in Houston and was founded in the 19th Century. According to the Wikipedia entry, in 1875, the land, which had previously been used for slave burials, was purchased by Richard Brock, Houston's first black alderman. It opened as a cemetery for black Methodists in 1877. When Olivewood was platted, it was the first African-Americans burial ground within the Houston city limits.

As a longer-term goal, Ledbetter is also planning to set up an endowment for the Descendants of Olivewood (headed by Margott Williams). This endowment will be for maintaining the cemetery after the clean-up project is completed.

Ledbetter, a 14-year-old Life Scout with local Troop 604, is being assisted in the cleanup of Olivewood by members of his troop, but the effort needs more volunteer help. Ledbetter, who is also a student at Carnegie Vanguard High School, and the crew of scouts plan to be at Olivewood Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The project consists of planting flowers, cutting trees, mowing lawn and trimming trees. Volunteers should wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, tennis or garden shoes and hats because while the weather has been almost perfect, the sun can still exact a toll on your skin if you're not careful. Materials needed are wheel barrows, gloves, saws, weed cutters and regular shovels.

Keep Houston Beautiful is also assisting Ledbetter with the work, but he'll need help to pick- up supplies from the organization's offices Friday during the day. Ledbetter's project is being sponsored by St. Stephen's United Methodist Church, 2003 West 43rd, and is being overseen by Troop 604 Scoutmaster Jonathan Miller. For more information, show up Saturday or call Ledbetter at 713-864-4325 or Miller at 713-863-1761.

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  • 5 years later...

Patrick Feller has added a photo to the pool:

Update, Olivewood Cemetery, Houston, Texas 1302031601

It had been too long since I'd stopped by one of Houston's most important historical sites. Chartered in 1875, Olivewood Cemetery is one of Houston's oldest and the first for Houston's freedmen after the Civil War.

Since I was last there, in 2010, there is good news. Kroger and the City of Houston have provided a fence, and volunteers have made progress in the daunting task of clearing the vegetation that still covers so much of the cemetery.

The bad news is very bad.

Erosion had clearly been a problem when I was there in 2010, had claimed an unknown number of graves. Most of the runoff comes from the huge paved area belonging to Grocers Supply, on the east side of Olivewood.

More graves have fallen victim to erosion, despite the efforts that are being made to prevent it.

Click here to view this photo at the HAIF Photo Pool on Flickr
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  • 9 years later...

I’ve long known about Olivewood Cemetery being an important historical burial site, particularly for African Americans; I was completely unaware it is listed in the UNESCO “Routes of Enslaved Peoples Project.”

Sadly, it is also listed as one of the “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historical Sites” for 2022, by the National Trust for Historic Places.


Begs the question on whether there should be other UNESCO sites here in the greater Houston area?

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  • 10 months later...

Wow, I had no idea Olivewood Cemetery was part of UNESCO, that's really interesting. It's great to see that it's being recognized for its historical significance, but it's also sad to hear that it's listed as one of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historical Sites".

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  • The title was changed to Olivewood Cemetary At 1300 Court St.
5 hours ago, MarlonVaremez said:

Wow, I had no idea Olivewood Cemetery was part of UNESCO, that's really interesting. It's great to see that it's being recognized for its historical significance, but it's also sad to hear that it's listed as one of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historical Sites".

I've heard a lot about this Cemetery but have never visited...I will do this soon.  

Another historic Cemetery desperately in need of some TLC is Hollywood Cemetery.  It has the potential to look like Glenwood if it were only maintained.   😒

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