Elmwood Cemetery is a 50-acre municipal cemetery established in 1853. It is just across the street from Norfolk's first municipal cemetery, Cedar Grove and just beside Norfolk's first African American cemetery, West Point. A mid-nineteenth century grid design cemetery, Elmwood is filled with monuments and mausoleums that embody the pathos and symbolism of the Victorian era's romantic idea of death as temporary sleep. Within its boundaries are works of nationally known sculptures Edward Field Sanford, Jr. and William Couper as well as memorial architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle. An oasis in the middle of the modern city of Norfolk, this outdoor museum contains a wealth of Victorian funerary art. Elmwood Cemetery thrives today as a great source of genealogical information and as a biographical representation of the history of Norfolk, of its artists and craftsmen, soldiers, sailors, and ordinary citizens, from the wealthiest of merchants to the poorest of commoners buried in "strangers and paupers" lots. It is a visual representation of the evolution of American funerary art reflecting changing believes and tastes of successive generations.*
*2013 National Register of Historic Places nomination for Elmwood Cemetery
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device (like a smart phone) and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers called "geocaches". NSCC's dear friend of Norfolk's historic cemeteries, Janice Williams, created the following geocaches in Elmwood Cemetery to educate visitors about some of the history, memorial art & architecture within. Click on a link below and have some fun!
Elmwood Cemetery is currently undergoing a cultural resource management assessment to determine and prioritize conservation goals. Norfolk Historic Cemeteries volunteers dedicate hours of their time to landscape conservation each month. Far more is needed. The ravages of weather, time, and occasional vandalism wreak havoc on the historic landscape, monuments, statues, tombs, mausoleums and other cultural artifacts that define this beautiful and sacred space. If full fledged conservation is not undertaken soon, we will lose this outdoor museum of history, public art, and culture.
If you are interested in learning more about Elmwood Cemetery, consider attending one of several exciting walking tours. All Tours are open to the public; a $5 suggested donation to the NSCC is greatly appreciated. For tour dates, please visit our tour page.
As a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, NSCC welcomes your support through contributions! All funding goes directly to ongoing conservation projects within Norfolk's historic municipal cemeteries. Click on the Donate button below to make a tax deductible contribution to the NSCC.
If you are interested in getting involved as a NSCC member, Sign up here for membership information.
Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation
P.O. Box 11446
Norfolk, Virginia 23517
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