Airmount Grave Shelter


The Airmount Grave Shelter, also known as the Hope Family Grave Shelter is a brick grave shelter, or grave house, located in the Airmount Cemetery north of Thomasville, AL. It is unusual in that it protects six graves instead of the more common one grave. The brick structure was built in 1853 by John Hope. It is built in a vernacular Greek Revival style with a gabled roof. The interior features a wooden vaulted ceiling.


It was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, and the applications states, “One of the things that sets the Airmount Grave Shelter apart from other antebellum monuments is that it had to be constructed on site by a builder with past experiences that would give him the expertise needed to construct what, in Clarke County terms, was (and is) a fairly sophisticated structure. The above-ground nature of the structure very much suggests membership in the "grave shelter" typology but admittedly the substantial masonry walls of the structure show the influences of grave vault architecture of the Carolinas and Georgia. The Airmount Grave Shelter is therefore a unique structural type showing the influences of several ideas or traditions of how to cover "sacred" mortuary space. Why the structure was constructed in the form it was and what influenced the patrons and the builders to choose the "compass ceiling" architectural motif may, however, remain mysterious for many years yet to come.


Criteria Consideration C: Birthplaces or Graves. Although the nominated property contains graves, it derives its primary significance from architecture and the distinctive design features of the shelter and gravestones.”


The shelter contains the graves of the following individuals:


Archibald H. Hope, May 20, 1823 – September 26, 1850.
Margaret Hope, November 20, 1797 – May 1851.
Jane A. Hope, February 9, 1813 – November 22, 1852.
John Allison Hope, October 3, 1855 – October 25, 1856.
John Hope, October 3, 1791 – April 6, 1868.
Sarah Jane Powell Hope, July 7, 1829 – July 7, 1885.