This cemetery is situated off of a busy road in Ormond Beach, and only has a small blue sign to even mark it’s presence. We could have easily passed it. Not only because there isn’t much in the way of signage, but the cemetery almost looks like a large green field with only the occasional small marker and a couple of beautiful old oak trees. Volunteers have transformed this cemetery from a forgotten burial ground into a setting that looks almost like a park. It’s a magical space, and is also known as Greenwood Cemetery. I prefer Gethsemane.
It’s a well spaced cemetery so be prepared to walk all over if you want to be sure not to miss any of the artistic markers.
Most of the markers here are handmade and truly glorious, some clearly done by the same hand, which always fascinates me. Maybe there was one person in the community that knew how to make them, or could read and write, or were they just good at it and so people called on them when they needed markers. These questions always surface for me when I go to places like this.
One of my favorite aspects of this cemetery is the small, five pointed star stamp used on many of the headstones, on both sides of the cemetery. I know it must have signified something, but I have been unable to find out what. According to graveaddiction.com it symbolizes the star of heaven, but I get the feeling that it’s something else for this place. The stars are simple and beautiful.
This cemetery was once a burying ground for African Americans, including slaves, and continued to be a primarily African American cemetery until it’s demise due to lack of funding and perpetual care (a repeating theme for this blog). In the Daytona beach Morning Journal from December 4, 1955 it has a funeral announcement for John Lee, who is buried in that cemetery, saying that the Herbert Thompson Funeral Home was performing the burial. They’ve been in business in Daytona Beach for quite awhile.
It was closed for burials in 1974. There is not a lot to say about this cemetery- as a place of historical value there doesn’t seem to be volumes and volumes of history on the place. However, it’s worth a visit to see what a group of individuals can do when they care about a cemetery.
Speaking of caring- next week I’ll be writing about Bay Ridge Cemetery near Apopka, which is completely overgrown and absolutely amazing! I care very much about what happens to that place.