2022 Conference – Thursday Morning Historic Odd Fellows Cemetery Walking Tour
Take a tour of the historic Odd Fellows Cemetery, the recipient of Preservation North Carolina’s 2022 Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award, to learn more about what was the premiere burial site for Winston-Salem’s African American residents for decades. Two local African American Odd Fellows Chapters, the Winston Star Lodge No. 2308 and the Twin City Lodge No. 3283, established the cemetery in 1907. As participation in the Odd Fellows lodges declined as older members died, the Cemetery fell into disrepair and concerns about the condition of the cemetery is documented as early as 1950s. In 1996, The Odd Fellows Cemetery Reclamation Project was founded with committees focused on cleaning and clearing the cemetery; determining ownership and boundaries; publicity about the reclamation effort; and memorializing those buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery without markers or known grave sites. The Friends of Odd Fellows Cemetery Inc. was officially established in 2008, after decades of continuing management and upkeep of the historical site, and is the successor organization to the Reclamation Project and they organize service days regularly with volunteer groups.
This 30-45 minute walking tour will highlight the many Veterans buried at the cemetery, including a Tuskegee Airman, Buffalo Soldier, and vet of the Spanish American War. Every headstone is unique; as is the Yucca garden which is decades old. You will visit the restored Caretaker Building, reconstructed on a bare frame beginning in 2010. Please wear closed walking shoes due to uneven grounds and path and bring inspect spray (although some will be on hand as well).
This tour is limited to 25 people maximum.