Aiken Colored Cemetery

National Register Listing
Street Address:
Florence Street and Hampton Avenue, Aiken, SC (Aiken County)
Alternate Name:
Pine Lawn Memorial Gardens

NRHP Nomination Form

Record Number:
Description and Narrative:
Aiken Colored Cemetery, established in 1852, is the principal burial ground for African-Americans in the City of Aiken. It is significant for its long association with the African-American community in Aiken, as represented by the graves of slaves, freedmen, prominent leaders of the Reconstruction era in Aiken County, merchants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, ministers, and educators in Aiken and Aiken County from 1852 to the mid-twentieth century. It is also a locally significant and intact example of a vernacular cemetery, still in use today, illustrating common black burial customs over a period of more than one hundred and fifty years. The cemetery, now Pine Lawn Memorial Gardens, was the only public burial ground for African-Americans in the City of Aiken from the mid-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Purchased by the City of Aiken from James Purvis in 1852, this cemetery, originally four acres but later enlarged to the present 9.5 acres, also served as a public burial ground for paupers. The cemetery’s monuments consist almost entirely of marble, granite, and cement in the form of tablets, ledgers, and obelisks with an occasional vault-top marker and a unique arched brick vault. Many plots have a central family stone with smaller individual markers. Many graves are simply unmarked. The lots display a variety of boundaries, mostly low concrete block, brick, and marble walls and wrought iron fences of various styles, some with gateways and brick pillars. The cemetery’s landscape includes predominant plantings of massive cedars, historically appropriate for nineteenth-century African-American cemeteries, pines, and oaks. In the spring, “living memorials,” also common to African-American cemeteries, of daffodils bloom on some plots and in the summer, daylilies. Listed in the National Register of March 19, 2007.
Period of Significance:
1852 – 1956;1852
Level of Significance:
Area of Significance:
Ethnic Heritage: Black
National Register Determination:
Date of Certification:
March 19 2007

Related places
Aiken County