Posted by: buyandsellcemeteryplots | January 20, 2008

Restore an Abandoned Cemetery

Old cemeteries are markers of human history; of all the love, sweat, toil, tears, joys and triumphs of the past. They are links to family we never knew, they are sources of history and they tell us a great deal about ourselves culturally and socially. Therefore, there is nothing sadder than to come across crumbling, decaying and near gone relics of cemeteries and to feel helpless to do anything about this loss of heritage. Yet, there are indeed things that can be done to restore orphaned cemeteries and return this heritage to current communities. In doing so, we all regain a sense of our own place in time and history.

1) Locate a cemetery in need of tender loving care. Many decaying cemeteries are found in our once bustling townships in country and rural areas. Some are roadside cemeteries and others are neglected plots behind long-abandoned churches in cities, towns and villages. Perhaps there is one near you, or maybe you remember one from your regular vacation town. 

2) Ascertain the ownership and responsibility for the cemetery. Orphaned cemeteries are still owned by someone or some entity and often it will be a municipal responsibility. Start by asking at your local government office and move from there. Even if a church appears to be responsible for a cemetery, sometimes the church has ceased to tend it through lack of funds or having moved its current cemetery to other places due to space constraints and nobody has thought to keep tending the old cemetery. 

3) Seek permission to restore the gravestones and other cemetery areas. This task may be performed either before or after you have formed a team to help with the restoration. Sometimes permission can be the impetus for forming a group of devoted restorers; sometimes having the restoration team in place is the only motivation that will put in train the ability to get a permission for restoration. 

4) Form a restoration team. The team’s task will be to voluntarily restore the graves, gravestones and any other relevant cemetery features to their former glory.

5) Outline your restoration project to the relevant clubs, places of worship, societies, etc. In each case, you will need to talk the to those in charge of groups. Although an in-depth restoration plan is best left to the restoration team and its own brainstorming meetings, you will need a blueprint to show others and convince them why the cemetery should be restored. Keep it short and persuasive in tone. Emphasize the historical, cultural, faith and community benefits of loving restoration of our human past.

6) Ascertain the level of decay and the type of work that needs to be done. This is about drawing up a plan.

7) Seek government and municipal grants for restorative work. Many heritage and restoration grants are offered by government and local government. Look at websites for national, regional and local governments in the areas of the arts, heritage, environmental restoration, cultural, and community services. 

8) Find a drawcard. This means finding something of interest in the cemetery that will give you media coverage and draw in more interest and donations to the cause.
For more info on cemeteries go to Buy and Sell Cemetery Plots
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