Hollywood Cemetery is rich in history and beauty, and the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery are working to make sure it stays that way.
The cemetery, located at 451 North Bridge St., is one of the oldest organized cemeteries in this area (circa 1897), spanning approximately 16 acres and serving as the final resting place for more than 1,700 graves. Members of the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery want to ensure that this sacred place remains beautiful and is tended to appropriately.
The Friends of Hollywood Cemetery is a committee under the Parks and Recreation Department of the Town of Elkin. Members include Rosie Beverly, Lucy Chatham, Emaline Cockerham, Ralph Cook, George Crater, Jim Darnell, Graham Johnson, John Kennedy, Ann Merlo, Zetta Parks and Rick Seipel. They are working toward the restoration of the cemetery to its former grandeur, with concerns being areas of the cemetery with substantial damage to plots, walls, monuments, and landscaping.
“It’s an accumulation of several small things. It’s an issue of over-all beautification,” said Tod Purdue, owner of Green Grass Choppers, the mowing company contracted by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Kennedy said maintaining the landscape, which has become overgrown in many places and jeopardized by weeds and Kudzu, is one of the biggest issues.
The tranquility that some of the shade trees once provided has now become another cause for concern. Pardue is working with the committee to alleviate issues such as a large Spruce tree that has limbs touching the ground above graves which date back to the 1930’s.
“It needs limbing up like crazy,” said Rick Seipel, member of the committee. Plans for this are already under-way.
Many of the older family plots are lined with walls that are falling or damaged.
“I love the walls, but after 80 years, they need repairs,” said George Crater, committee member and town planning director. “They need straightening and repairing, and it’s not that the families don’t care; it’s just lot of the families are no longer living.”
Another one of the committee’s concerns is fallen markers.
The Chatham Foundation has paid for a landscape architect to develop a multi-staged, long-term landscape plan that includes new signage and a new directory.
The committee hopes that people in the community will share in their passion, and come forward with donations to help the cemetery.
“If anyone wanted to provide donations, checks should be made out to the Town of Elkin and ear-marked for the cemetery,” said Adam McComb, Parks and Recreation Director. “That will ensure that the money goes toward work on the cemetery.”
Kennedy said he would like to see enough money generated for the repair of walls, resetting of fallen markers, cleaning of markers and maintaining landscaping.
“This is just such a beautiful and special place, we want to make sure it’s taken care of,” Kennedy said.
For questions about donations, or questions about joining the cause, contact Adam McComb at 835-9814 or John Kennedy at 835-6313.