From a Burying Ground to a Park

From a Burying Ground to a Park (HM1NO1)

Location: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 18.106', W 77° 27.776'

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"On motion made and seconded, resolved unanimously that the new burying ground be enclosed with brick...."
     Council Minutes of July 6th, 1824
     Robert Lewis, Mayor (Buried in the Masonic Lodge Cemetery)
In 1774, St. George's Parish purchased the land that comprises Hurkamp Park today. It was to be a church cemetery, but in 1787, after the Revolution and disestablishment of the Anglican Church in America, the Corporation of Fredericksburg appropriated this land for a public burying ground. The western lot line of the cemetery coincided with the town boundary and is still marked by a brick wall.
After burials ended, in 1853, the Corporation Burying Ground fell into disrepair. The cemetery served as a bivouac site during the Civil War and livestock grazed among the graves in its aftermath. In 1875, the Fredericksburg City Council sought to convert the neglected grounds to a public park and crews began removing headstones and graves to other cemeteries. On July 12, 1881, the new park was dedicated and named in honor of prominent local businessman John G. Hurkamp.
In 1953, the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad asked to lease a portion of the park. At that time, legal research revealed that there was no recorded conveyance of the property to the City. The local government had simply assumed title from the Anglican Church. In 1860, the wardens of St. George's Church had petitioned the Council to investigate its title to what was then the Corporation Burying Ground, but this matter was tabled, presumably because of the Civil War. Not until 1953 did this issue resurface, but by then public usage through several generations was considered to have established ownership. Hurkamp Park remains public—one of the spoils of war from the American Revolution.
Caption of picture in lower left: John Hurkamp resided at 406 Hanover Street, from 1862 until his death in 1886. This ornamental cast iron fence and gate, which is still standing at the above address, bears Hurkamp's name. Both this fence and the Hurkamp Park gate were designed by Benjamin Bowering and cast at the Hope Foundry of Fredericksburg.
Caption of picture in upper right: In 1883, John Hurkamp donated a handsome cast iron gate bearing the name "Hurkamp Park" in raised letters. This circa 1900 photo shows this gate as well as the brick wall along the western edge of the park. The brick wall on the remaining three sides was removed in 1898.
Caption of picture in lower right: I selected the point behind the wall of a cemetery, which is actually within the town. It is quite a large piece of ground, and would hold my regiment very readily. There was a brick wall all around it, which would enable me to hold the position against very great odds...
     Commander of the Seventh Massachusetts, in describing his unit's activities on May 3, 1863, during the Chancellorsville Campaign.
HM NumberHM1NO1
Placed ByCity of Fredericksburg, Virginia
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 6th, 2015 at 4:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)31N E 166021 N 0
Decimal Degrees38.30176667, -77.46293333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 18.106', W 77° 27.776'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 18' 6.36" N, 77° 27' 46.56" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 510 William St, Fredericksburg VA 22401, US
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