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What the Graves at Savannah Airport Actually Mean

It's easy to miss the two gravestones built into the runway at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. In fact, most visitors flying in have most likely not noticed the two peculiar rectangles since they simply look like part of the airport runway. The markers belong to Richard and Catherine Dotson, who were both born in 1797.

The Dotson family originally owned the land where the airport now sits in Georgia. At the time, their farmland on the outskirts of Savannah was known as Cherokee Hills. After a marriage of 50 years, Catherine passed away in 1877 and Richard followed in 1884. They were both buried in the family cemetery. As World War II loomed in the 1930s, it was decided to transform this cemetery into a military airport as an extension to Runway 10.

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While all of the other bodies (nearly 100, including some slaves and other farm workers) were relocated to Bonaventure Cemetery, the family believed that Catherine and Richard would want to stay behind on their family's land. Though the military paved over the graves, they built grave markers into the runway in their memory. Family members are still able to visit the graves today, safely escorted by airport personnel. Though the grave markers are not in the middle of the runway, descendants of the Dotson's are not able to leave flowers, The State reports.

This story is such an interesting and meaningful part of Savannah's history. The Dotsons are now able to stay side-by-side in their final resting place, forever ingrained as a part of the land they loved. Next time you fly into the Savannah airport, think of Richard Dotson and his family living on that land long before the Wright Brothers and airports were even thought of.

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What the Graves at Savannah Airport Actually Mean