Cemetery Reopens to the Public for Visitation

January 10, 2024

This post is re-published from the January 2024 newsletter.

The cemetery, nestled beside Clemson University’s Memorial Stadium (“Death Valley”), at Clemson University is now open again to the public for visitation. The 17.5-acre wooded area actually has three burial grounds: the African American Burial Ground, Andrew Pickens Calhoun Family Plot, and Woodland Cemetery. Over the past ten months, the Pathways Project has significantly improved the campus cemetery, from addressing accessibility concerns in the sacred space to providing additional lighting and security measures. In this article, we will illustrate and explain these changes that visitors will experience when they re-enter.

Retaining wall on the southeast side of the cemetery at Clemson University. Photograph by Marquise Drayton.

Visitors can walk along the new klingstone pathways bordered by flagstones upon entering the cemetery. The pebble-like walkway provides a more comfortable feel for foot traffic than the concrete and dirt that once was there.

Benches will be installed in select places throughout the cemetery for reflection and rest. Additionally, a new klingstone pathway has been installed from the grave of President Walter Riggs to the lower pathway near the stadium. Both tour groups and visitors will be able to use this shortcut to save time when visiting the cemetery. A new gate has also been created along the Press Road entrance to the cemetery across from Memorial Stadium’s Gate 16 to signal the site’s sacredness.

A wrought iron gate and ornamental wrought iron inserts inspired by the craftsmanship of African American blacksmith Philip Simmons of Charleston, SC, will be installed later this year. Additionally, as visitors enter this new gate, they will walk on slabs of stone that were taken from the old gate that was formerly located on the west side of Woodland Cemetery.

Stairway leading from the Riggs Plot towards the gate at Press Road near Memorial Stadium. Photograph by Marquise Drayton.

For nearly 60 years, Woodland Cemetery was not only a place to bury the dead, but it was also used as a tailgating site and for parking by IPTAY on football game days. However, the cemetery project team and university staff are working to redefine the campus cemetery as a place of reverence and respect and where the public can also learn about Clemson University history. For more information, please visit