Yellow Fever LbNA # 16463
|Placed Date||Jul 9 2005|
|Last Update||Dec 6 2010|
Alive and well, unlike the nearest folks, on 1/03/08
Difficulty: Easy - Total Distance Car to Letterbox: 80 meters
The Yellow Fever Letterbox is located in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church in the Piney Point Area of West Houston. This spot was for almost 100 years the hub of activity in Piney Point, an area devoted to agriculture. The church and graveyard have been in use for 150 years and reflect the German heritage of many of the earliest settlers in the area. Upon first glance, it seems easy to dismiss this place now surrounded by messy urban sprawl. Closer inspection of the church and the cemetary reveal hand-planed beams and gravestones carved with simple, yet elegant motifs and phrases in German. The cemetary is evidence of the tremendous hardships that the community once endured. Epidemics of deadly yellow fever often swept nearby Houston as well as the Piney Point area. A particularly bad one, in 1854, will help you find the letterbox.
From I-10 - Exit Campbell Road and travel north for one mile to the intersection of Campbell at Long Point. You will see the church at the intersection. Turn right onto Long Point and then a quick left into the church parking lot.
To the Letterbox - Enter the cemetery by the gate closest to the church building. You will see a grassy road that stretches straight through the cemetary to a lightpost at the back fence along Spring Creek (which borders the property). Head 170 paces to the lightpost. As you you reach the lightpost you will see a cluster of graves under a large tree on the left. Walk 30 paces to the tree. From the tree look back towards the church building and in that direction, at 25 paces is the flat marker for the “Rev. B.M. Hailfinger and the yellow fever vicitms”. Dozens of victims are buried here in a mass grave after an outbreak in 1854. From the marker, look again towards the church and at 60 paces you will see two matching, multi-trunked trees. The letterbox is well concealed in the center of the one on the left. I chose this spot because it affords some privacy while you stamp in. You will find a tribute to the stonecarving on the markers around you. Please cover the box with lots of branches and be respectful and return later if there is anyone in the cemetery. Take a look at the centuries-old oak tree to the east of the cemetary fence as you leave, it is striking.