WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News, Weather & Sports

Cemetery Discovered in Path of Route 29 Western Bypass

January 29, 2013

There could be a potential roadblock for the Route 29 Western Bypass as a cemetery has been discovered on VDOT property, sitting in the way of the proposed bypass route.

The African-American cemetery dates back to the mid-19th century and the Sammons family. Descendants of those buried there are still in central Virginia, and the debate has begun about what to do next.

Charlottesville city councilor Dede Smith, formerly the executive director of the Ivy Creek Foundation, is familiar with much of the African-American history in the area.

"With most of these cemeteries, these family cemeteries transfer with the deed," she said. "There's just a marvelous story attached to this family and to the people who are buried in this cemetery, and as it turns out, this cemetery is in the path of the Western Bypass."

The Virginia Department of Transportation owns the property where the cemetery sits. Representatives just recently contacted descendants of those buried there.

"How VDOT discovered it, at this point, we don't know," Smith said.

But now the debate begins over moving the cemetery or moving the bypass.

"From a historical point of view, it is situated in the community where they [the family] played a really significant role, so for many of us, it would be very disturbing to see it moved," Smith said.

According to a VDOT request for proposals dated September 27, 2011, the department reported re-aligning the road in the past so it didn't interfere with a pet cemetery near the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA.

Smith says in this case, VDOT wants to move this cemetery. She's heard the descendants say they want it to stay.

"They were a very important family in the community of Hydraulic, which is over by Albemarle High School," she said.

VDOT has not returned calls as of Monday night for comment about this latest development, so there's no word about the fate of the Sammons cemetery or how this discovery could delay the project.

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 188948371