Blandford Church is a rare American treasure. It is one of the few churches whose decorative stained-glass windows were completely designed and installed under the direction of Louis Comfort Tiffany of New York.
The Church’s fifteen exquisite windows were commissioned by the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Petersburg in memory of the Confederate soldiers buried at the adjacent Blandford Cemetery. From 1901 to 1912, Tiffany and his team of artists designed, created and installed the windows, which were financed by contributions from each of the Confederate states in honor of their war dead.
A guided tour of the Church reveals its history as an 18th century Anglican house of worship, its eventual abandonment and fall into disrepair, its use as a field hospital during the Siege of Petersburg, and its restoration by the Ladies Memorial Association as a shrine to the South’s “Lost Cause.”
Blandford Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest in America, is resting place of some 30,000 Confederate soldiers who lost their lives during the Siege of Petersburg. A tour includes monuments and tombs of the Confederate dead, and outstanding examples of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth-century gravestones, sculptures and decorative iron fences.
Did You Know?
America’s Memorial Day Holiday was inspired by events at Blandford Church and Cemetery. Soon after the Civil War ended, Mary Logan, wife of Union Commander General John A. Logan, witnessed a group of schoolgirls placing flowers on the graves of soldiers. Deeply moved when she saw the ritual repeated the next year, she related the story to her husband, who took steps that ultimately led to the observance of Memorial Day as a national holiday.