Tombstones and TomToms

In the wee hours of this morning I got back from a two-day trip to Virginia, which I enjoyed thoroughly.  Loyal readers of this blog will know what that means—there’ll be a few of my always-handy historic site reviews coming over the next few days.  Right now, though, I’d like to add a brief follow-up to an earlier post I wrote about using automotive GPS devices to do heritage touring.

I’ve found my TomTom to be worth double its weight in gold on my history field trips, but this weekend I did find a small chink in its armor.  Historic cemeteries aren’t among the pre-loaded destinations, or “Points of Interest,” as the device calls them.  The POI categories for each city doesn’t include one for cemeteries, and when I typed in the name of the cemetery I was looking for, it wasn’t there.

I found this case odd, because the graveyard in question was Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in beautiful Lexington, VA.  It’s quite a tourist attraction in its own right and is saturated with historic significance, so its absence from the TomTom’s POI list was a little surprising.   Anyway, if you’re planning a history-related trip and you want to hit the cemeteries of the famous and the infamous, it wouldn’t hurt to get their addresses and load them onto your device ahead of time.  The cemetery’s name alone probably won’t be sufficient, but if you already have the street address, it’ll get you there without a problem.

By the way, my traveling companion and I did manage to locate the graveyard, and if you’re in the Lexington area, it’s well worth a visit.  The original and final resting places of Stonewall Jackson himself are the main draws here, but you can also see those of his family, William N. Pendleton (Lee’s artillery chief), Scott Shipp (who commanded the VMI cadets at the Battle of New Market), and Andrew Moore (VA statesman and veteran of the Revolution).

Of course, the only home Jackson ever owned was also in Lexington.  The house is now a museum, and my next post will be devoted to a review of its restoration and interpretation.  See you then.


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Filed under Museums and Historic Sites

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