"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 around you for a cemetery. Following the American Revolution and disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Virginia, the Fredericksburg government appropriated this land for a public burying ground. The western lot line of the cemetery, marked by a brick wall, is visible to your right.
In 1875, the town council decided to convert the increasingly neglected grounds into a park and directed the removal of headstones and graves to other cemeteries. The new park opened July 12, 1881, named in honor of prominent local businessman John G. Hurkamp.
In 1860, St. George's Church had petitioned the Council to investigate its claim to the property, but the Civil War interrupted this process. The issue resurfaced in 1953, when the Rescue Squad sought to lease a portion of the park. By then, public usage over several generations had established legal ownership. Hurkamp Park remains public.
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 park gate were designed by Benjamin Bowering and cast at the Hope Foundry of Fredericksburg.
In 1883, John Hurkamp donated a 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. The metal gate is believed to have succumbed to a scrap metal drive during World War II.