An organization that won guardianship of Olivewood Cemetery about a year and a half ago is trying to raise funds to hire an archeological firm to recover and rebury the longtime residents of up to 5 graves — before they’re washed away into White Oak Bayou. The cemetery sits on the boundary line between the First and Sixth Wards, hidden behind Grocers Supply and Party Boy on Studewood, just south of I-10.
Recently, the erosion appears to have picked up, leaving the potential for dozens of graves to wash away. In addition to the ravine system, the cemetery’s woes stem from runoff from nearby Grocers Supply and a downward, south-to-north slope that ferries water through the cemetery. [Community Archaeology Research Institute associate director Robert] Marcom said one goal is to channel water to nearby White Oak Bayou without having to go through the ravine system.
Olivewood became Houston’s first incorporated African-American cemetery in 1875. The grounds are a bit tough to get to, and many of the remaining headstones in the long-neglected property are nestled deep in lush beds of vegetation, reportedly including plenty of poison oak and poison ivy. Descendants of Olivewood regularly organizes cleanups of the 8-acre cemetery, but only the front quarter has been tamed so far.
Like apple pie, July 4th, and auditing the Federal Reserve, Olivewood appears to be one of those rare causes that attracts the involvement of both major political parties. Here’s our evidence:
- Help needed to rescue threatened graves near downtown [Bayou City History]
- Special Request!!! [Descendants of Olivewood]