For most of the first decade of Glenwood’s existence, its fortunes were guided by President W.B. Botts and the Board of Directors. Although minutes of the activities from those years have not been found, it is known that new sections were developed, and construction of infrastructure and improvements continued.
In 1886, J.C. Hutcheson was elected President. Under Hutcheson’s leadership, a new Code of Bylaws, Rules and Regulations was adopted, a Permanent Trust Fund was established, and what is believed to be the first engineered map of the cemetery was drawn and eventually recorded in the Harris County Clerk’s office.
In 1888, the office cottage was built, and an irrigation system and fountains were installed. The three-tiered fountain near the main entrance is believed to have been installed at that time. These improvements were followed by a conservatory/greenhouse in the area of the present Section East Avenue (today’s greenhouses are located in the shop area), and construction of the house fronting on Washington Avenue as a residence for the Superintendent.
A significant change in Glenwood’s management occurred in 1893 when Thomas Tinsley, a New York lawyer with various business interests, obtained majority control of the Houston Cemetery Company stock, and Tinsley’s associates replaced the former members of the Board of Directors. Through a series of disproportionate dividends, stock splits, loans and other fiscally questionable transactions, Tinsley enriched himself while neglecting the maintenance of the cemetery, which fell into a deplorable condition.
Public sentiment against Tinsley grew until, in March 1896, a group of disgruntled lot owners filed suit asking the court to appoint a Receiver for the Glenwood assets. William Christian was appointed Receiver the following month and, under the court’s supervision, he operated the cemetery and began to repair and rebuild the damage of the Tinsley years.
One of the Receiver’s priorities was the entrance bridge crossing the glen just inside the Washington Avenue gates. The original 1872 bridge had been made of wood, and Tinsley’s neglect had left it unusable. Funerals were forced to enter through the Kane Street gates. After several options were considered, it was decided in 1896 to fill the ravine under the bridge, installing a culvert to allow the water to flow west to east. The bridge surface and rails were described as “new masonry and concrete.” It is believed the present concrete rails were installed about 1920.
The formal brick and masonry gate posts and the ornamental iron fencing and gates, which mark the Washington Avenue entrance today, were constructed around 1900, giving Glenwood a prominent presence in the streetscape.