About Green Hill Cemetery

Green Hill Cemetery, incorporated in 1854, by the Virginia General Assembly, the Cemetery Company established Green Hill Cemetery on 15 acres atop a hill that offers a rare view of Martinsburg and North Mountain to the west. The simple iron fence with cast posts was placed in position on Nov. 1, 1902. The present Shingle Style lodge (486 E. Burke St.) is from the same era. The land covered all sides of a cone shaped hill, and both that hill and other hills viewed from it were and are verdant. The landscape design evidently evolved from sketches made by Martinsburg artist David Hunter Strother--better known as Forte Crayon. Surveyor J. P. Kearfoot translated the French design the hillside cemetery to fit the Valley of the Virginias.


The crest of the hill, viewable from the entrance was initially topped with a chapel of unknown design. It is now crowned with a Neo-Classical Revival stone mausoleum, built 1917-18. It has stained glass and bronze entrance doors. In one end is a conventional pastoral rendering in stained glass, in the other the same scene in a most abstract and colorful rendering. The mausoleum is classically detailed and tied to its site with tree plantings on its flanks. From this site and from almost any site in the cemetery there are truly magnificent views. Monuments make the area into an outstanding outdoor museum of the stone carvers and sculptors art. Most local stone carvers are represented as are such nationally known sculptors as A. Gaddes of Baltimore. All the Victorian symbols are here truncated columns, wilted roses, draped urns, the pointing finger, etc.


Experiencing Green Hill Cemetery is like taking a step back in time. It is a must-see site in Martinsburg, WV. Steeped in history and cultural significance, it’s hard to overstate the importance of this Historic Cemetery. It is truly an outdoor museum. Ornate inscriptions, stained glass and massive mausoleum contrast with simpler monuments and markers, all of which together relate the story of a city and its people. Still an active cemetery, these hallowed grounds still today offer comfort and inspiration to the living, so take the time to visit and discover the hidden treasures of this tremendous Historic Cemetery.

 

Rules and Regulations

Applicable to all sections of the Cemetery

  1. The Caretakers have general charge of the grounds, under the supervision of the Cemetery Board.

  2. No interment/inurnment will be permitted until lot and interment fee are paid in full.

  3. No lot owner shall allow interments to be made on his lot for a remuneration or compensation, nor shall any transfer or assignment of any lot or of any interment therein be valid without the approval of the President of the Board.

  4. If any tree or shrub in any lot shall in any way become detrimental to an adjoining lot or to any avenue, path or walk or become unsightly, dangerous or inconvenient, it shall be the duty of the Superintendent to remove or remedy the same.

  5. Flowers, wreaths, funeral designs and flags will be removed from graves when, in the judgment of the Superintendent, they have become unsightly. Seasonal arrangements for Christmas and Easter holidays will be removed one month after holiday.

  6. Debris that is cleared by lot owners shall be placed at the roadside as to not interfere with traffic passage.

  7. Dogs must be leashed in accordance with City Ordinance.

Cremation Rules

  1. Only one inurnment is allowed when half of an adult burial space is purchased.

  2. Where a burial space contains an existing casket or vault, up to four cremation interments are allowed in addition to the existing casket or vault provided that the Caretaker has determined that such additional interments can be placed on the burial space.

  3. The disposition of cremated human remains (cremains) shall require the same authorizations as regular casket interments.

  4. If burial of cremains without a container into a grave is desired, authorization must be signed by the burial space owner and approved by the Superintendent prior to burial waiving any future removal of those cremains.

  5. Any person who deposits cremains at a grave site without the prior written permission of the Superintendent and without paying the required fees shall be required to pay the current fee for cremation burials plus a fine equal to 25% of the current fee for cremation burials.

Floral/Grounds Policy

  • Green Hill Cemetery is not responsible for any items left at the gravesite. Flowers are placed at your own risk; they will not be replaced by the Cemetery if they are lost, stolen or damaged.

  • We welcome and encourage fresh-cut flowers throughout the year. They will be removed when they become withered, faded, or otherwise unsightly.

  • Permanent in-ground flower containers are not permitted.

  • During growing seasons, all floral items will be removed from graves weekly or when it becomes necessary to facilitate cemetery operations such as for mowing and trimming.

  • Artificial flowers are allowed after the end of mowing operations in the fall and must be removed when mowing operations resume in the spring.

  • Christmas wreaths, grave blankets, and other seasonal ornaments may be placed on graves from December 1 through January 20​

  • Permanent plantings, statues, vigil lights, breakable objects, and similar items are not permitted on the graves. The Green Hill Cemetery Board does not permit adornments that are considered offensive, inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery or considered hazardous to the cemetery personnel. For example, items incorporating beads or wires may become entangled in mowers or other equipment and cause injury.

Rights of Owners of Plots, Grounds. or Graves

  • The purchaser of a plot in the Cemetery is generally regarded as having obtained only limited property right. He or she acquires a privilege, easement, or license to make burials in the purchased plot.

  • The plot owner's interest is a property right entitled to protection from invasion and the title is a legal estate. The owners rights are subject to the police power of the state as well as the rules of the Cemetery and any restrictions made in the contract of sale.

  • If a plot owner dies intestate, the rights of the plot pass to the heirs in the same manner that Personal Property passes in the absence of a will.

  • The owner of a plot has the duty to care for and maintain the plot either personally or through an agent. The Cemetery caretakers may supervise plots to prevent them from disintegrating to the point of unsightliness.

 
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Adopt-A-Grave Program

Where the Community gets involved

How it works: Individuals, groups or organizations are able to give back to the community by adopting designated sections of the Cemetery.  Volunteers will be shown the available locations and choose where they would like to adopt. You will have your choice of adopting one or more graves.


What's expected: Volunteers interested in adopting a grave are expected to maintain that location via weed eating and/or push mowing. No riding mowers are allowed. Cleaning of the grave with any chemicals must first be okayed by the caretakers. Adopted locations may be decorated as the adopter(s) see fit as long as it does not inhibit the ability to mow or become unsightly. Volunteers should return a minimum of every 3 weeks to ensure location is well maintained. All volunteers are expected to communicate with the Caretakers if anything becomes unmanageable or you are no longer able to provide volunteer services.


Perks for your service: Volunteers that keep up with the Adopt-a-Grave program for more than a year will be gain GHC Member status. This will include a member pin and small plaque erected at the adopted location providing the name of the person, group, or organization taking care of the site.

 
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There will be historic pamphlets provided and some brief history about the Mausoleum for all that visit. One or both of the Caretakers will be available for questions during this time. We encourage visitors to pack a lunch and have a picnic with some of our permanent residents. Below is a list of ways to positively  impact the cemetery while you're here:

  • Fulfill requests on Find-a-Grave for pictures of certain grave sites.

  • Sweep off headstones that are covered by grass debris

  • Consider our cemetery when completing service hours required by school or other programs