IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - An Irmo cemetery created in the 1800s, which is the final resting place for some influential members of the Black community in the Columbia area, fell into disrepair until a recent preservation project.
The Upper Pine Grove Cemetery became hidden to the public after years of no maintenance or landscaping. It’s just off Archers Lane in Irmo, near the Harbison campus of Midlands Technical College and Harbison West Elementary School.
Recently, community groups worked to renovate the cemetery and honor the lives laid to rest there, including Richland County’s first African American judge, Harold Boulware Sr., and the former President of Harbison Institute, Reverend Charles Young.
“I live less than a half mile from here, and drove past here for 30 years and never knew there was a cemetery back here,” Irmo Mayor Barry Walker said. “Let alone a historic cemetery, with all of these icons buried back here. So when I found out, my first thought was, ‘Oh my goodness we need to fix this up.’”
In an attempt to keep the cemetery in good condition going forward, Walker worked with the Irmo Town Council to keep the cemetery’s land within town limits. That will allow the Irmo Police Department to patrol the cemetery, which Walker said will continue to be maintained by the Harbison Community Association going forward.