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March 13, 2015

(Sharpsburg, MD) – A special new gravestone and wayside exhibit will be dedicated at the historic Tolson’s Chapel, at 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The dedication ceremony will be held to honor the new gravestone for Virginia Cook.  The grave stone was funded by a Virginia Cook Memorial Fund set up by the Sharpsburg Town Council and Mayor.  Ms. Cook was a well-known Sharpsburg resident who was a member of the last congregation of the historic black church. Her death marks the last of these congregants when she passed away in 1996, just short of her 87th birthday. The town of Sharpsburg raised the funds in 2014 for the gravestone, through donations to the nonprofit Friends of Tolson's Chapel. It was installed in late November of 2014; prior to this installation, there was no demarcation of her gravesite.

There will also be dedication of a new Wayside Exhibit. The exhibit highlights the historical significance of the Tolson Chapel and its importance as a black school and church in Sharpsburg.  The wayside marker was  funded by a grant from the Washington County Community Foundation (Mary K. Bowman Fund) and by a grant from Preservation Maryland.

Edie Wallace, president of the Friends of Tolson's Chapel said ”The Chapel stands on the grounds of the battle that led to the Emancipation Proclamation, and signifies the beginnings of a free life and a free community – a church and school – for African Americans.” 

The dedication ceremony will begin at 1:00 pm.

Tolson’s Chapel is a member of the CVB, a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. For more information about Hagerstown-Washington County see: www.visithagerstown.com