Cemetery volunteers find piece of lost building in Winston-Salem

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Investigators used this 1894 photograph of the Winston police force in front of the town hall to confirm the molding's origin. (Credit: Forsyth Co. Public Library Photo)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A small group of volunteers have met at the Happy Hill Cemetery to reclaim long-forgotten graves from decades of neglect each Saturday morning for nearly three years.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that architect David Gall and two other men were clearing a tangle of briars at a far edge of the cemetery a few Saturdays ago when they uncovered an ornately carved piece of terra cotta, about the size of a banker’s box .

“We couldn’t figure out what it was, originally,” Gall said, according to the paper. “It was obviously a decorative molding. We couldn’t figure out whether it was from a tomb or a building.”

The men photographed it and carefully made note of where they’d found it, and a couple of weeks later, Gall hauled it out of the cemetery in a wheelbarrow and took it to his office.

Then he called fellow architect Bill Brake, who had been commissioned by the county to do a planning study and a building assessment of the old Forsyth County courthouse and knows the building inside and out.

Read more: The Winston-Salem Journal.