Historic cemetery damaged following flooding

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - When Raphael Morris took over the care of Greenwood Cemetery in north St. Louis County, it was overgrown and the graves were nearly impossible to find.

Seven years later, with hundreds of hours of work and help from volunteers, it’s a place where people can finally come visit their loved ones. But the historic flooding this summer is putting up roadblocks at the historic Black cemetery.

“My worst possible imagination came to fruition when I came out here after the storms, and found our road was completely flushed out,” said Morris.

The rain and flooding from July washed out the gravel on several of the roads and made them impassable by car. Many visitors are elderly and Morris is working to find a way to fix the damage. But while they rely heavily on volunteers for upkeep, this is beyond their capabilities. The damage is extensive and costly.

“Typical Greenwood, two steps forward one step back,” he said.

As a nonprofit, they could potentially have qualified for Public Assistance through FEMA, but the deadline for that funding ended September 7. A spokesperson for SEMA, the state-run emergency management agency, said they would have a representative call Morris to see if there was any help still available.

In the meantime, Morris and volunteers will work to keep the cemetery as accessible as possible.

Greenwood Cemetery dates back to 1874 and houses more than 50,000 people including historic figures like Harriet Scott. For more information or to volunteer: https://www.greenwoodstl.org/