About 2 miles south of downtown, this ancient church boasts one of the largest collections of Tiffany-glass windows in existence and is noted for the first observance of Memorial Day. The church was constructed in 1735 of imported English brick but abandoned in the early 1800s. During the Civil War, the building became a hospital for wounded soldiers. Many were later buried in the 189-acre graveyard, whose oldest gravestone dates from 1702. The 13 Confederate and border states each sponsored one of the Tiffany windows as a memorial to its Confederate dead. The local Ladies Memorial Association commissioned the 14th window. The artist himself, Louis Comfort Tiffany, gave the church the 15th window, a magnificent "Cross of Jewels" that is thrillingly illuminated at sunset. You can visit the parklike graveyard on your own, but the only way to see inside the church is on a 45-minute guided tour.
The First Memorial Day -- After the Civil War, a group of Petersburg schoolgirls and their teacher came to Old Blandford Church to decorate the graves of the soldiers buried in the churchyard. The ceremony inspired Mary Logan, wife of Union Gen. John A. Logan, who was head of the major organization of Union army veterans, to campaign for a national Memorial Day, which was first observed in 1868.