Getting the government to do its fair share

Duct tape usefulness reason #832

Duct tape usefulness reason #832

Ok, I admit that headline’s a bit of a troll. However, I do believe that historic preservation societies/volunteers shouldn’t have to carry all the load when there are ways local government can get involved to help out.

After all, isn’t that what our tax dollars are supposed to do?

One example: Several years ago up in Washington State, King County kicked off its Historic Preservation Program that aimed to document just what was out there in the county, help brainstorm ideas for providing new stewards for the abandoned sites, and best of all, work to provide maintenance and restoration funds.  Here’s the first article: Lending a Helping Hand.

Here’s the second, follow-up article interviewing the King County Preservation Architect: Hands-On Preservation. While the article does not specifically deal with fundraising ideas, it highlights the fact that the County became so cognizant of the restoration problems, a Preservation Architect was appointed to help spearhead solutions.

Something for you to think about proposing at your next county government meeting.

Meanwhile, check back next week for more ideas. I’ve got 5 more posts worth of ideas to share with you.


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Filed under Cemetery Fundraising

More money ideas for more repairs

Tolt Cemetery

Tolt Cemetery, Washington

Here are a couple of oldies, but goodies I posted way back when, that have some great ideas on fundraising.

1. Scaring Up Cemetery Repair Funds. Note: The Living Performance venue mentioned here earned enough money to pay for both the maintenance project and publication costs for a memorial book, the sales of which will be applied toward future upkeep costs.

2. Scaring Up More Cemetery Repair Funds. Here’s an idea on a pledge drive as well as incorporating your cemetery into a statewide historic cemetery tour path.

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Cemetery Fundraising Ideas Week kickoff

Flickr photo by borman818

Flickr photo by borman818

Considering last week’s response to cemetery fundraising, I decided to dig around to see what else people are doing to raise money for their historic/small town cemeteries. Turns out there are so many good projects and helpful hints, I decided to devote the next couple of weeks to “Cemetery Fundraising Ideas” on the BTG blog.

So in the words of Dame Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start.”

Article #1

Here’s a good general listing of short-term and long-term fundraising possibilities for cemetery boards/historical societies: Fundraising Ideas to Provide Perpetual Care in Small Cemeteries. Note: It’s a little long and has lots of stuff, so give yourself enough time to digest it.

Article #2

Ok, all well and good, but what if you’re nowhere near the point of having a historical society where members can take on the tasks outlined above? You know you want to preserve the historic cemetery, but how do you get from wanting to preserve it to a recognized society that can take this on?

Enter another long article, this one from the state of Oregon called: Historic Cemetery Long Range Planning. If this doesn’t get you started, nothing will.



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Filed under Cemetery Fundraising

Doing a genealogy search? Check out these cemetery records

Today’s Sharing Saturday post from, shares a list of several different types of cemetery records that can help further any genealogy search.



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Filed under Genealogy, Sharing Saturday

A case of unregulated greed.

Courtesy Chicago Tribune

Courtesy Chicago Tribune

“Who would say that’s OK? Anybody? Anybody at all?”

Assistant State’s Attorney Nick Trutenko was referring to the removal and desecration of human remains, as well as removal of more than 10 gravestones and markers at Burr Oak Cemetery, charges against codefendant brothers Keith and Terrence Nicks.

The brothers were charged after a 2009 FBI and Cook County Sheriff’s Department investigation revealed 1,500 bones of at least 29 people sprawled across the grounds at the same cemetery where lynching victim Emmett Till is buried (read the full article here).”

This past February, the brothers were convicted of desecration of human remains, removal of human remains and removal of more than 10 gravestones and markers, and face up to 7 years in prison.  On April 17, Keith Nicks was sentenced to six years and Terrence Nicks was sentenced to three years in prison.

Cemeteries today face enough challenges without something like this happening, yet it’s the lack of proper record keeping, lack of licensing requirements in many states, and cemetery ownership by huge corporations like SCI, that generate the temptation for unscrupulous actions.

Here’s hoping the Burr Oaks conviction and this 60 Minutes expose helps change things.




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Cemetery fundraising ideas

Dredging up ideas to raise cash for cemetery repairs and maintenance is an ongoing challenge. Here’s how the Ray Township Historical Society in Michigan is doing it via several fundraisers for Procter Cemetery.


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Filed under Cemetery Fundraising, Restoration

My name’s Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

I can’t decide whether the Kevin Costner or the Kurt Russell version of Wyatt Earp is best, although Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday definitely tips things in favor of Tombstone.

I was going to write a quick outline of the Wyatt burial plot and then realized, Wikipedia had already done a much better job than I could’ve pulled off. So without further ado…

“[Earp’s wife] Josie, who was of Jewish heritage, had Earp’s body cremated and secretly buried his remains in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity, a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California. When she died in 1944, her remains were interred alongside his. In 1957, the Tombstone Restoration Commission looked for Wyatt’s ashes with the goal of having them moved to Tombstone. They contacted family members seeking permission and the location of his ashes, but no one could tell them where Wyatt was buried, not even his closest living relative, George Earp. Arthur King, a deputy to Earp from 1910-1912, finally revealed that Josephine had buried Wyatt’s cremated remains in Colma, California, and the Tombstone Commission cancelled its plans to relocate his ashes.

On July 8, 1957, thieves excavated the Earp’s grave in an apparent attempt to steal his cremated remains, but unable to find them, stole the simple, 600 pounds (270 kg) grave marker. The stone was eventually returned but a new, more elaborate marker was erected later on. Their gravesite is the most visited resting place in the Jewish cemetery.”

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