Monthly Archives: July 2010

Scaring up cemetery funds part deux

Just as little something to consider when planning a Living Performance venue.

We received an email yesterday from the people organizing the Living Performance fundraiser at Saar Pioneer Cemetery (mentioned in Scaring up Cemetery Funds).  After four performances (two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday), enough money was raised to pay for both cemetery maintenance AND a book on the cemetery itself.  

So be careful. You may end up making more money than initially planned.

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Scaring up cemetery repair funds

Mary Anderson: Salvation Army Member

This past April, the Veterans Administration announced that it will, “use up to $4.4 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program to repair and preserve historic monuments and memorials at VA-operated national cemeteries…” This is good news for our national cemeteries what about for everyone else? All too often, local cemeteries are forced to think more creatively in order to find sustainable sources of maintenance funds.

However, some of these ideas can be quite intriguing.

In 2009, Atlanta artist Cooper Sanchez held a one-day (or rather, one night) art show at the historic Oakland cemetery. This is just one of several lectures, shows, and walking tours frequently offered to help drum up community support. Not wanting to be left behind, Seattle’s Evergreen Washelli accepted submissions this past spring for up to six solo art shows to be held in its Columbarium. 

Some cemeteries simply combine volunteer green thumb talents with a love for local history. The next time you’re in your local library, check out the Fall, 2009 issue of Country Gardens. On page 30, Cemetery Survivors details how Jane Baber White rejuvenated the 26-acre Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. Once a forgotten site filled with overgrown shrubs and weeds, the cemetery is now filled with an amazing variety of heritage roses (approximately 60 types) ranging from the old-fashioned, 19th century to the 1950s favorites.

Living History performance at Saar Pioneer Cemetery

Another popular way to raise both funds and community interest is with Living History performances. Last weekend at the Saar Pioneer Cemetery in Kent, Washington, the Book-It Theatre and Living Voices highlighted the lives of several fascinating pioneers buried there.

Of course, another option is to find grant funding. Seattle cemetery volunteers and historical societies are fortunate to have potential funding from organizations like Humanities Washington and 4Culture. Not located in Washington? No worries. Check out possible grants at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Sometimes, there really are piles of cold, hard cash lying around for someone to pick up. How about tapping into those unclaimed bank or trust accounts? We commented about this on our Facebook fan page a while back but it’s worthwhile mentioning again. Seems like an Allentown, PA cemetery received almost $28,000 from old trust accounts. That’s a tidy little sum. What kinds of old accounts is your state hanging onto?

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What was once a tremendous carving…

   

The San Francisco National Cemetery is located in the northern end of The Presidio and holds a large number of interesting headstones scattered in between the usual military-issue markers. Earlier this year, BTG profiled an immense Book of Life located near one of the roadways and almost impossible to miss.   

Dr. Clarence A. Treuholtz: 1876 - 1913

 

One marker that’s not quite so prominent but offers a poignancy all its own, is the half-destroyed memorial to 37-year old Dr. Clarence A. Treuholtz, a captain in the Army Medical Corp, who served at various Army posts in Alaska, New Mexico, and Arizona – specifically, Fort Apache, a post that later became the home of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1923.   

There are two particularly sad items of note about this headstone. The first is that while Dr. Treuholtz is buried here, his wife Elizabeth, is not. The second sad note is the blatant vandalism marking the spot.   

   

Once upon a time, this must have been a magnificent carving of an eagle perched on a rocky outcrop. Now, only a broken set of clawed stumps remain.   

 

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It’s a long road to Cooperstown

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Maria Frances Cooper: b. 1819 – d. 1898 (daughter of James Fenimore Cooper)

 

Every summer, a small village in upstate New York swells to several times its size as thousands of visitors descend upon it, eager to pay respects to their baseball heroes. Located approximately an hour half from the state capitol in Albany or five + driving hours from New York City, most agree that for baseball players and visitors alike, it’s a long road to Cooperstown.

It’s an even longer road in winter but the payoff comes in having the town practically to one’s self. The Hall of Fame, shops, and readily available parking are all there for the leisurely traveler willing to put up with the occasional icy sidewalks and snow drifts.

For the more scholarly-inclined, winter is a great time to visit the Cooper family plot at Christ Church where literary genius and Victorian churchyard cemetery gazing can be had with few interruptions.

Cooper family plot – southern side

 

At this time of year, the Christ Church grounds are well insulated with snow, except for the path from the old-fashioned vicarage through the Cooper family plot and to the church itself.       Continue reading

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And we’re back…

It’s great to be back!

What with all the little things going on in the past few weeks, it was really nice to concentrate on getting them all done and out of the way. Now it’s time to resume some regular posting but we won’t get too staid just yet. Since most of us are still enjoying a long weekend, let’s keep the celebratory spirit going with some fun cemetery articles from around the world.

1. Whimsical, patriotic, serious…here is a terrific post, A Lovely Day for a Trip to the Graveyard, by Dina Fainberg who writes (and photographs) the fabulous carvings found in Russian cemeteries. Sights like these are what inspired me to begin writing this blog because I felt like I was visiting an open-air sculpture park and not a graveyard.

2. A timely followup to the previous post, Redefining the Cemetery Concept, discusses how cemeteries can still remain relevent in today’s society (photography, symbolism discovery, art festivals, even weddings) and points out several unique sites for future visits.

3. If all this cemetery talk is stirring up the ambition to find out more of your family history, check out, Take a Trip to Trace Your Roots. Detailing some of the more well-known sites from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to the Allen County Library of Fort Wayne, Indiana, the article is a help to those of us who could use a little more direction in our genealogical searches.

4. One caveat to keep in mind is that many online genealogical searches are not cheap and many can snare first-time seekers into paying more than they had originally anticipated. One solution for those living in larger metropolitan areas is to check out their local libraries. Quite often, full-time genealogists are on hand to help out and if they’re not, the libraries will have readily available and free databases.

5. And speaking of searching, Josh Perry still believes in good old-fashioned, gumshoe work. Combining an interest in cemeteries with organized crime, he hunts down gravesites of notorious Chicago gangsters. Check out his Grave Hunting Primer to see how he does it and what he recommends.

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