Monday, May 22, 2023

Voices from the Past

Elmwood/Pinewood Cemeteries
Saturday we attended Voices from the Past at the historic Elmwood/Pinewood Cemeteries in Charlotte. It's an event where volunteers tell the story of one of the interesting characters from Charlotte history at their grave site, dressed in period clothing. Because we are not from this area originally, we thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the people who once called Charlotte home. The event had been rescheduled from its original date in April due to rain. Because of that, not all of the 28 re-enactors were available but we probably listened to around 20 of them.

Elmwood was one of Charlotte's first cemeteries, and it opened its 72-acre plot in 1853. Many of the Who's Who of early Charlotte are buried there. It included Pinewood Cemetery, a segregated African American cemetery. There were two separate entrances, and until 1969 a chain link fence divided the cemeteries. Now they appear as one cemetery.

The event was well-attended, and we very much enjoyed the stories. The re-enactors did a fabulous job of staying in character. The most interesting was a clown, who stood at the grave of John King. King was part of a circus that was in town in 1880. The elephant he cared for crushed him. The circus moved on, but King was buried in Elmwood. His stone has an elephant carved on it.

John King's grave

The most memorable was Randolph Scott (1898-1987). He left Charlotte for Hollywood, and became a famous actor. While he appeared in a number of genres, he is mostly identified as a star of western movies. The man who portrayed him was just fantastic!

Randolph Scott's grave
Jim and I enjoy walking through cemeteries and looking at the artistry involved in the mausoleums and headstones. We are happy to learn of these historic cemeteries here, and will definitely go back when they are less crowded and we can spend time wandering around.

No comments: