Laurel Cemetery (39.317453, -76.578094)
Laurel Cemetery, 1852-1958 (39.317453, -76.578094)
The Cemetery in 1896 from the Bromley Atlas of that year:
An early plat (date unknown) of the sections of the cemetery:
This is my stub entry for research on the history of Laurel Cemetery which was a non-denominational graveyard modeled on Victorian cemeteries designed to be park like. It will be added to as research progresses on the bioprofiles of the individuals buried there and the location of the graves. Some tombstones and graves were moved to Harford county where they were unceremoniously dumped when the original graveyard was developed as a shopping plaza featuring a Two Guys store.
An overview account of the loss of the graveyard and the archaelogical efforts to document it appeared in the British newspaper the Daily Mail in March of 2018:
- Grim secret of a Baltimore mall parking lot: How at least 5,000 forgotten bodies were left behind when an old cemetery was taped off overnight and bulldozed to make way for a new development
- Opening in 1852, Laurel Cemetery served as the resting place for thousands of African-Americans as Balitmore's first non-sectarian graveyard
- It was a popular burial ground for several decades, but it fell into disrepair. By the 1950s, residents dumped trash on overgrown property and wanted the cemetery removed because it had become an 'eyesore'
- The property owners filed bankruptcy and it was sold off to developers who moved an estimated 300 bodies, despite relatives protesting
- But experts say they left at least 5,000 bodies behind to be bulldozed and paved over to create a parking lot and shopping center
- Archaeologist Ronald Castanzo found human remains on the property, including the top of a tombstone poking out from a grassy area that was not paved over
- By REGINA F. GRAHAM FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
- PUBLISHED: 11:22 EST, 6 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 EST, 6 March 2018
Parts of the cemetery were sold off for a gas station in the 1920s after an unsuccessful court case to prevent the sale. There is currently a used car lot on the site of the main entrance and administration building and the coordinates above lead to a google map and view of the site.