Share The Health

Frederick Health & AARCH Continuing to Honor Those Laid to Rest at Original Greenmount Cemetery

09-01-2020

August 31, 2020 - In July 2020, site preparation began at Frederick Health Hospital as the organization resumes construction, entering the final phase of an expansion project that started in 2014. This construction project will complete the Emergency Department renovations, expand the Emergency Crisis Unit, and re-envision the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

In both 2001 and 2014, construction at the hospital property uncovered historical remains from the original Greenmount Cemetery. Established in the late 1800s, Greenmount Cemetery was one of three graveyards where people of color in Frederick could be buried. When Frederick City Hospital was established in 1902, the two properties bordered one another. The cemetery property was eventually sold to Frederick City Hospital in the 1920s and all graves were thought to be relocated to Fairview Cemetery at that time.

Construction is set to resume this fall and Frederick Health has taken action to ensure any remains still interred on the original cemetery grounds are located and treated with the utmost compassion and respect. Using ground penetrating radar (GPR) technology, Frederick Health has conducted a survey of the construction site to aid in locating any remaining historical burial sites.

Officials from the State’s Attorney’s Office, State and local law enforcement, the medical examiner’s office, and the health department, are also engaged in the process to ensure that appropriate steps are taken if remains are located.

Building on a partnership that began in 2014, Frederick Health and the African American Resources, Cultural Heritage Society (AARCH) will continue their work together to honor those individuals originally laid to rest at Greenmount Cemetery.

In 2014, AARCH Society approached Frederick Health to discuss an initiative to recognize Greenmount Cemetery, in a respectful and compassionate way. Out of that discussion, a partnership began, and the two organizations continue to work together to find meaningful ways to share the deep history of Frederick County’s diverse community.

In 2017, Frederick Health and AARCH worked together to create the Greenmount Memorial Garden, a sacred place to memorialize and honor those originally buried at Greenmount Cemetery. Located near the main entrance of Frederick Health Hospital, the garden was officially dedicated in May of 2018 and provides an opportunity for family members, and the community, to honor over 900 people of color who were buried there.

David Key, President of AARCH, along with many members of the society, collaborate often with Frederick Health to provide historical exhibits and presentations to Frederick Health’s employees and volunteers; ultimately creating a space for open dialog. The mission of AARCH Society is to preserve and share the history and culture of African Americans in Frederick County, so that we can all grow in understanding. By engaging in conversation, we can all be part of the solution to the injustices that have thus far been inseparable from the story of who we are.

Frederick Health’s mission is to positively impact the well-being of every individual in our community. In a recent statement, Tom Kleinhanzl, President and CEO of Frederick Health, reiterated that Frederick Health is committed to addressing the effects of inequity and developing collaborative solutions that point our community toward a healthier future.

AARCH society and Frederick Health will continue working together to plan a final interment ceremony to be held at Fairview Cemetery. During this ceremony, the group plans to place a headstone honoring those who were originally laid to rest at Greenmount Cemetery. The inscription on the headstone created by AARCH will read “The souls resting at this site will never realize the progress we have made, nor the importance they played in our advancement. With our promise to work toward a kind and loving community for all, we give honor and thanks to those who have gone before us.”

Completion of the construction project at Frederick Health Hospital is slated for fall 2023. If you have questions about the upcoming construction project, the historic Greenmount Cemetery, or planning for the final interment ceremony, please contact Frederick Health and/or AARCH Society.

To read the list names of those thought to be buried at Greenmount Cemetery, visit aarchsociety.org or click here. A special thank you to Dr. David Wallace, who dedicated his time to developing and maintaining this list of names.