Renovated Beebe Memorial Park dedicated|Improvements include memorials and picnic areas

Published 8:10 pm Sunday, September 27, 2009

Contributing Editor

A renovated and rejuvenated Beebe Memorial Park was dedicated Saturday afternoon.
“It honors the people laid to rest here. It honors the people who live near here. It honors the city,” Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette said at the dedication ceremony at the park, located northwest of the intersection of West 11th and Bridge streets.
The project to renovate the park began several years ago. To help kick off the project, the city earmarked funding for improvements to the park. Other funding also was obtained to further the project along.
A groundbreaking for the project was held Aug. 14, 2004, with the ceremony forced inside the Boys &Girls Club of Beaufort County’s nearby headquarters because of rain. Part of the Washington Parks and Recreation Department, the park honors the work of Beebe, a North Carolina native, who was selected a bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church on March 23, 1873.
The park includes walkways, an elevated viewing area, a memorial area honoring the Rev. Joseph Beebe and local black history, benches and picnic tables, a gazebo-like shelter and a number of trees and shrubs. It also includes a circular memorial that contains headstones from graves from an abandoned cemetery in the northwest corner of the park. The memorial to Beebe anchors the southeast corner of the park.
William O’Pharrow, who presented a brief history of the park, originally dedicated Oct. 21, 1994, by Bishop Oree Broomfield Jr., noted that the park “site is dear to the African-American community in Washington because it is the site of the former paupers cemetery.”
“We appreciate the city for doing what it has done,” said Blanche Booker, who welcomed the small assembly of county officials, city officials and others who attended the event.
The Rev. Ed Moultrie, pastor of Beebe Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, delivered the invocation for the dedication ceremony.
“It is our prayer and hope this park will be a place of happiness,” Moultrie said in his prayer.
Booker also noted the park’s dedication was the culmination of the project that took several years to complete.
“We didn’t give up. We knew the best was yet to come,” Booker said about the planning process that led to the park being renovated.
The Spring Garden All-Male Chorus performed at the ceremony.