This International Airport in Georgia Has 2 Graves Sitting on Its Active Runway

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Runway 10 at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia isn't just a regular spot where planes can touch down, it's also the final resting place for Richard and Catherine Dotson.

To this day, the couple remain underneath the tarmac after their great-grandchildren negotiated with the federal government to have their graves remain in place when a runway expansion project during World War II required construction in an area where Dotson family members had been buried, according to the airport's website.

The graves of two other Dotson family relatives, Daniel Hueston and John Dotson, can be found near the active runway.

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According to The State, a newspaper in South Carolina, the airport was initially built on former farmland containing the Dotson family cemetery, which housed approximately 100 graves — including those belonging to enslaved people.

When the airport expanded to accommodate the army, Dotson decedents allowed most of the graves to be moved, but wished that the family patriarch and matriarch — who died in the 1800s — be left undisturbed, the outlet reported.

Eventually, the family negotiated to have all but four graves were relocated to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, according to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

"These grave sites are the only ones in the world embedded in an active 9,350 foot runway serving thousands of general and commercial aviation operations yearly," the airport's website reads.

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The marker of Richard's grave — which sits alongside his wife's burial plot on the runway's edge — reads "At rest," while Catherine's says "Gone home to rest," according to The State.

"Somehow the fact that they are still there resting in peace says something about the people who have been caretakers of this city for a long time," Stan Deaton, a senior historian for the Georgia Historical Society, told local news station WTGS in 2018.

"If those people could rise up from that grave, they would be bewildered by what they see around them."