The Bethlehem Methodist Episcopal Cemetery was established ca. 1875 as part of a church built by freed slaves, which has since been demolished.
There are 80 known burial sites, many of which belong to former slaves of the nearby Cottonwood and/or Haile plantations that existed in Archer and Gainesville, Florida, respectively.
Though it was originally used for the burials of freed slaves, use of the cemetery continued into the mid-twentieth century.
Many historic gravestones and markers remain on site, and after years of irregular maintenance, the Bethlehem Methodist Episcopal Cemetery Restoration Committee was formed to document, restore, and research the markers.
After initial progress by the committee, the property has become threatened by loss of momentum in the way of preservation efforts. Lack of a master plan, lack of a public and private partnership to implement the work, and lack of funding have contributed to this loss of momentum.
The City of Archer has agreed to partner with the Bethlehem Methodist Episcopal Cemetery Restoration Committee and the UF Historic Preservation Program to apply for funding.
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