Julia-Ann to dedicate Fence

From The Parkersburg News and Sentinel:

A final dedication and commemoration of the Riverview Cemetery Fence Project in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District will be 2 p.m. Oct. 15.

After the ribbon cutting, re-enactors will portray some of Parkersburg’s past residents who are interred in Riverview Cemetery along Juliana Street near 13th Street. The re-enactors will provide the characterizations at the actual grave sites, said Judy Smith, chairwoman of Riverview Cemetery Committee.

Those attending the cemetery dedication are invited after the program to meet at First Presbyterian Church, 1341 Juliana St., in the Harris Room for refreshments.

“It’s a joy to me to see the final product,” Smith said Wednesday about the cemetery fence project.

Smith and other committee members have been working for more than three years to raise money to erect a wrought-iron fence, which is time-period correct, around the cemetery and make other improvements. The committee is part of the Julia-Ann Square Historical Community Association Inc., which works to preserve and promote the historic district.

Through donations and grants, $140,000 was raised to build the fence, which was completed this summer, Smith said.

Kathryn Harris wrote the grant applications, and descendants of those buried in Riverview were among those donating money.

“People were so kind” with their donations, Smith said.

An “Edwardian Gala” last year at the Juliana Street home of Madison and Katharine Brown raised money for the cemetery project. Katharine also compiled and wrote a cookbook, “Historic Parkersburg Cooks,” containing recipes from women who lived in the historic district many years ago. Proceeds from the cookbook sales were given to the cemetery project.

Riverview Cemetery’s earliest grave dates back to 1801. It was developed as the Cook family cemetery of patriarch Tillinghast Cook.

The historic Cook House at 1301 Murdoch Ave. sits below the cemetery. Riverview Cemetery later grew into a community cemetery, Smith said.

Two former governors of West Virginia, a former U.S. senator and eight former mayors of Parkersburg are buried at Riverview Cemetery. They are joined by local families such as Dudley, Dils and Rathbone, Smith said.

Riverview Cemetery is held in perpetual trust by United Bank, which pays for the cemetery’s upkeep.

“United Bank is very supportive” of the Riverview Cemetery Committee’s efforts, Smith said.

Shawn Critzer, the cemetery’s caretaker, is doing a good job in maintaining the Riverview grounds, Smith said.

Besides adding a new fence, gates and stone pillars, the cemetery project also involved removing trees that were in danger of falling on tombstones, trimming other trees and sprucing up the grounds.

The Julia-Ann district group also recently raised $4,000 for signage at the cemetery.

Smith said money is still needed to replace deteriorated tombstones that have legible inscriptions.

The Riverview Cemetery Committee will be asking Gov. Jim Justice and politicians who helped with the cemetery restoration to cut the ceremonial ribbon on Oct. 15.

Donations will be accepted at the dedication, Smith said, but there is no charge to attend.

Category : In The News &News Posted on October 10, 2017

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