Frequent Olivewood Cemetery visitor Roger Barnaby came across a disturbing discovery in the historic African-American cemetery south of White Oak Bayou between Heights Blvd. and Studemont not long before dark on Halloween: Survey markers and what look like new fenceposts, installed only a few inches from some marked graves. Barnaby tells Swamplot he’s not certain of the purpose of the posts, but believes they and the survey flags mark an intended expansion of the cemetery’s longtime neighbor to the south and east, grocery distributor Grocers Supply. “You can even see that they pounded a survey spike into one of the graves,” he notes:
The land is immediately adjacent to Grocer’s supply and situated so that nobody else could use the SW corner. . . . An interesting aside — I also learned that Grocer’s Supply won a lawsuit back in 1946 that closed off the main entrance (south) of the graveyard so that Grocer’s Supply could expand.
There are new pink survey ribbons, so it was obviously recently surveyed. My photo shows one of the spikes and ribbons. . . .
In any case, the photos speak for themselves. How can it be legal to do anything like that next to a well marked grave?
Olivewood Cemetery was established in 1875 as the first burial ground for freed slaves within city limits, but the land had served as a resting place for slaves for some time before then.
This isn’t Olivewood’s first brush with groceries in recent weeks: The 380 agreement recently approved by city council for the benefit of the Kroger planned for the other side of Studemont includes some funding for the cemetery’s restoration.
- Previously on Swamplot: Olivewood Cemeteryâ€™s Grave Situation: Not Washed Down to the Bayou Yet
Photos: Roger Barnaby