Construction stops after old cemetery is uncovered in North Chattanooga

An old tombstone is seen next to a survey marker adjacent to a construction project on Dartmouth Street in the North Chattanooga community on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A North Chattanooga development has been halted by city officials after contractors uncovered graves that date back to the 1920s.

The developer, RTB Holdings, plans to put up 46 single-family homes on 10 acres north of Dartmouth and Curve streets. And neighbors already have complained that the increased density will add to traffic.

But Gary Hilbert, director of Chattanooga's Land Development Office, said city inspectors stopped work at part of the site after contractors cutting a drainage ditch nearly unearthed the grave of Bellfleet Bowood, who apparently died in July 1920.

Just north of Dartmouth Street, between Curve Street and Knickerbocker Avenue, passersby can see Bowood's grave between two large cinderblock pillars, overgrown with kudzu and covered by debris. At one point, they marked the edge of Beck Knob Cemetery, a cemetery for blacks in Chattanooga from the early 1890s to the 1940s.