Gaffney, South Carolina: Graveyard in the I-85 MedianThere's not much eternal rest going on here.
- I-85, Gaffney, SC
- In the median of I-85 just north of Exit 95 -- exactly 3.8 miles NE up interstate from the water tower. A very small, hard-to-spot dirt road, which connects the northbound and southbound lanes, is at the site. Pull off there if you're visiting the cemetery.
Visitor Tips and News About Graveyard in the I-85 Median
It's not really that hard to actually get to the cemetery -- just stay in the left lane of the direction you're traveling in on I-85 (North or South) and as you approach, check your rear view mirror and pull off the side of the road as far as you can. You can park nearly adjacent to the cemetery on either side of the highway. You can easily turn around if you miss it by using a nearby exit off the interstate.
The cemetery sits up on a bit of a knoll so that's something you can keep your eyes out for. It would be best to visit during winter months as the grass and weeds are pretty high during the summer. I am not sure of the legal issues (trespassing, etc) but it's unlikely anyone is going to come chase you down being that it's not easily accessible.
Just be respectful and appreciate the history and uniqueness of this cemetery where the departed are likely NOT getting any rest or peace![Jeff, 03/19/2010]
The families of this grave yard still live in this area. I have lived in this area for about 6 years an do not have the guts to cross the interstate. This a rural part of the highway and people really fly down the road. There is not much more you can see, that you can't see from the right side of the road. Please respect the families of these departed souls.[Mark, 06/28/2009]
The graves are still there, but very difficult to get to (due to the traffic.) The inscriptions on the remaining markers (verified on rootsweb.com) are:
- In Memory of L.H. Sarratt who died July 7th 1850 aged 51 years 2 months 2 days [b. May 5, 1799]
- Robin Lipscomb Son of S.S. and H.T. Ross born Feb. 16, 1864 died Oct. 5th, 18-
- June - 1818 [The date is scratched on a stone.]
- Sacred in the memory of Nancy Lipscomb born Feb 14, 1832 died Nov. 8, 1832
-Sacred Capt. R. Lipscomb born in Louisa County Virginia April 15, 1780 died March 19, 1860
- Ailie Lipscomb born Jan 20, 1805 died June 14, 1888
I checked out that graveyard in the median of I-85 in Gaffney, SC. There are a total of 8 marked graves. There may be others which are not marked. Of the eight marked graves, 5 are marked by tombstones, four of which are clearly legible. The death dates are from the 1850s - 1880s. One grave has a stone, but no writing. Then there are three other graves which have what appear to be stone walls built around them. Again, I can't be sure if these are the remnants of old crypts which have crumbled over the years, or maybe they were simply stone walls all the time. The area is pretty grown over, but you can still make out the perimeter of the cemetery.
Getting inside this cemetery is tricky. I don't know of any legal issues, but the fact that it is in the median of an interstate highway should tell you something.[Buddy Martin, 06/01/2007]
Buddy provided a long description of how he managed to avoid cars traveling 85 mph on the interstate and get to the cemetery. It sounded dangerous, so consider this strictly a drive-by attraction. And as you're driving by, watch carefully for Buddy-like pedestrians crossing three lanes of traffic to look at an old cemetery.
More detail on an earlier tip -- The graveyard is at exit 95 of I-85 and it is best seen going South. The median gets very wide about 100 yards before the cemetery so watch for this if you want to see it. The weeds were higher than most of the headstones (which looked to be early 1900's vintage) so perhaps winter would be the best time to view the graves on a 'driveby'.
Traffic was pretty bad so I didn't risk running across I-85 for close-up pics and quotes from the headstones.[Greg Brown, 11/11/2000]
An update from Nate Etheridge, March 17, 2003: "Upon my visit I found it to be an overgrown, pretty much dilapidated small old cemetery -- most of the markers had deteriorated away to nearly nothing, and several crypt-type graves off to the northbound side of 1-85 had collapsed into piles of rubble. The couple of dates that we were able to make out placed the graves in the mid-19th century (approximately Civil War era) and interestingly, a couple of the stones had comparatively recent floral arrangements placed on them."