This cemetery had received an "F" rating due to the rudeness of the staff and the charging of fees to look up gravesite locations for volunteers seeking to photograph headstones at another's request. Over the years, this cemetery has been in the news for many infractions and as a result, had a horrible reputation
This morning I received the email, sent via the website, (CFHR@texashistoryhunter.net) so I know she must have seen the review/ rating.
Her email is a welcome bit of information! I have bolded the parts I felt were most significant to us..
Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Cheryl Danford. I am the General Manager, Director of Family Services and Executive Vice President of Historic Hollywood Cemetery, Inc. Here is my dilemma. Publicity such as this is certainly warranted and I agree that this could be a useful tool, however Hollywood Cemetery 3506 N. Main Houston, Texas 77009 was for- closed on in January of 2009. The cemetery was run down and poorly kept just as the review stated as I have heard and seen first-hand time and time again of the horrible neglect of the cemetery. The Department of Banking stepped in and asked us to take over. We knew it was bad but it was worse than we ever dreamed it could be. Things have changed in the year and a half since we acquired this business and will continue to improve. These improvements will take time, money and effort but we are committed to it. We have a new staff but retain old values in the way of doing business where customer service is the first priority. Since taking over we have been designated as a Texas Historic Cemetery, we have also been working on Historic markers for some of our Historically significant residents here and taken classes and had help from Historians, Genealogist, and other professionals to preserve and conserve the History here. We have worked tirelessly on bringing the maintenance of the grounds up to a high standard including hiring more staff, buying new equipment and keeping a regular routine of service in Perpetual care. We also corrected many incorrect burials to the families satisfaction, identified undocumented burials to date approximately 100, and honored all of Hollywood’s contracts where they had contracted for goods or services and not delivered or done it incorrectly. We have paid for all the unordered markers, monuments, vases etc. that Hollywood should have ordered. As time goes by the tree stumps damaged by storms, fallen monuments and sunken markers are all being addressed as well. This is a monumental undertaking as there are nearly 34,000 burials and many years of neglect. We have had volunteers and new office staff working hard to bring old records up to the standard set by the Department of Banking. We have also many projects currently in the works such as having all the Historical Records digitized. We are manually typing in and backing up each and every record in the cemetery office. We have purchased cemetery programs that will eventually allow anyone with a computer access to our records this will be limited of course not to include specifics such as social security numbers. We have an open door policy and will be glad to help research family burial records, take photos or make copies where possible with no charge to the public. We have also hired a graphics company to get a website up and running and it will be available very soon. There are many other projects such as drainage and roads that we are currently working on and many that have been completed such as new block retaining walls, much needed repairs to the office and mausoleum. Please update our review since we know the information contained in that review is old and outdated. In order for us to continue with forward progress in the preservation of this Historic Cemetery we have to get the word out that our cemetery is no longer a nightmare that it once was and there are people here now including the new owner that care about the families who have loved ones here and the enormous amount of history in these 62 acres. Like any other business bad advertisements are a financial detriment and will significantly slow the process of restoration of the cemetery. Thank you for your help with this matter.
Director of Family Services
Historic Hollywood Cemetery, Inc.
fax: (713) 227-5933
I plan to send her the link to the MANY requests for headstone photos on Find A Grave and plan to re-review the office.
If anyone gets out there before I have a chance, please submit a new review based on your experience. If they really are making these efforts to turn it around (and I believe her email) then they deserve to have a better rating, even an "A+".