Buying A Brick Helps Spruce Up Cemetery

ROUTE 2. A weekly journey through Anne Arundel County

March 20, 1991|By Arthur Hirsch

The people working to restore Brewer Hill Cemetery in Annapolis would like you to buy a brick.

Or at least a ticket that looks like one. It's the Brewer Hill Cemetery Association's latest effort to raisemoney to restore the 19th-century black cemetery to a glory it has not known before. Plans include a new pillared brick wall on West Street topped by lanterns in place of the broken and bowed hurricane fence.

"It's moving, believe me," said Emma Pickett, association vice president. "I feel good about it."

Individual brick tickets cost $5 each, Pickett said. The donation for a section of the West Street wall is $25.

The association plans to place the tickets in a pressurized container and preserve them at the foot of a flagpole to be erected at Brewer Hill.

Pickett said the association estimates cemetery restoration will cost $80,000. The group has already raised $14,000 and been assured of a $10,700 grant from the city.

The cemetery was established by 11 black Annapolitans in the late 19th century. The eleven men bought the 4.5 acres for $787.50 from state Circuit Judge Nicholas Brewer.

Association members have in the last few years been clearing brush, weeds and other debris from the cemetery, where theremains of hundreds of Annapolitans -- including business and community leader Wiley H. Bates -- are interred.

Association president George Phelps has said he views the project as a way of awakening blackAnnapolitans to their history. He said the cemetery is a reminder ofa time when blacks owned much of the land along West Street.

Tickets can be purchased at Phelps Protection Systems, 1908 Forest Drive in Annapolis. Pickett said the group is also selling $3 tickets for araffle at St. Mary's Church in Landover Hills. The drawing May 18 isfor $95,000 in prizes, including a Cadillac Eldorado and four Chevrolets.

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