Preserving Our Historic Cemeteries –

North Hill is home to a rich and diverse heritage whose resources we work to preserve and protect for future generations to enjoy. On the western edge of North Hill, between A & B Streets, lies two of Pensacola’s oldest African-American cemeteries, Magnolia Cemetery, established in 1882 from Brainerd Street north to just before Lloyd Street, and A.M.E. Zion Cemetery, established in 1886, from Gonzalez Street south to Strong Street.  In Pensacola, our historic cemeteries are open-air museums that reflect a rich cultural heritage.

In late 2013, the Pensacola Area Cemetery Team (PACT) was organized to address issues associated with Pensacola’s historic cemeteries. Professionals from the University of West Florida (UWF) Division of Anthropology and Archaeology, in addition to UWF Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), came together and have spearheaded the restoration, repair, and research into these cemeteries and today they are once again community assets that contribute to a “sense of place” for residents and visitors alike.

Special thanks to City Councilman Brian Spencer and to County Commissioner Lumon May for using some of their discretionary funds in their budgets to help finance the much needed landscape maintenance. In the near future, look for new interpretative signage with history information about the cemeteries and bike racks so that visitors can park and explore these fascinating historic cemeteries.

 

 

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PACT Cemetery Stewardship Manual

 

 

A.M.E. Zion Cemetery

A.M.E. Zion Cemetery

 

Magnolia Cemetery (Between A & B Streets, and north of W. Brainerd Streets)

Magnolia Cemetery
(Between A & B Streets, and north of W. Brainerd Streets)

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This lovely birdbath was discovered beneath layers of soil and leaves where it had fallen decades ago and been covered with earth. Volunteers cleaned and reset it to its original location.

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Cleaned and reset (you can still make out the soil line where it had settled)

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Cleaned and reset (leveled) in the ground

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Cleaned and reset in the ground (leveled)

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Dr. Stringfield showing us their latest restoration work

Dr. Stringfield, UWF Archaeology Institute, showing us their latest restoration work

 

Elly Fisher, Vice-President, North Hill Preservation Association, who led a neighborhood effort to purchase and install park benches for both cemeteries so that visitors can have a shady spot to enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.

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North Hill Partners with Enterprise Foundation to Install Park Benches –

The benches were purchased with grant money NHPA received from Enterprise Foundation to enhance the historic cemeteries on our neighborhood’s western boundary. Over the last two years, much cemetery restoration and landscape work has been completed by UWF Archaeology Institute, and the Pensacola Area Cemetery Team (PACT) to preserve and restore the Magnolia and A.M.E. Zion Cemeteries which date back to 1882. Damaged headstones are being repaired, cleaned, and reset when needed, and history has been researched to share the stories. If you haven’t toured the cemetery, take a walk by one day, you will be amazed at the transformation of this once forgotten historic site.

Special thanks to Elly Fisher for writing the grant and to Catherine Eddins & Dr. Margo Stringfield with UWF Archaeology Institute for their assistance and to Linda Wright from the Pensacola Area Cemetery Team (PACT) for her assistance selecting the benches and the site placement. Thank you to our amazing team of volunteers: Scott Fisher, Jeff Dearth, Raymond Reese, Catherine Eddins, Elly Fisher, and Melanie Nichols, who braved the heat to help mix and pour 1,800 pounds of concrete for the bases to install our new gorgeous benches. Special thanks also to Councilman Brian Spencer and County Commissioner Lumon May who have given funding out of their discretionary budgets for continued support to maintain these historic cemeteries.