A city councilman wondered why dirt was being placed in a city cemetery, and worried that the dirt was a precursor to graves being placed on top of old ones. No worries, says the city manager' they are just replacing soil that has eroded.
In the wake of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal about bodies dug up and graves resold, one columnist weighs in on how something like this could happen. In short, society is more mobile and people are less physically tied to an area where loved ones are buried and people are less comfortable with death. It shouldn't take a Burr Oak to make people sit up and take notice of the deplorable state of some of our cemeteries. Not every cemetery is a Burr Oak waiting to happen; nor is every cemetery a parcel in ruin, but until they become a prime element in comprehensive land use policy, the danger of tragedy exists.
Much of this involves criminality that doesn't really apply to the scope of this blog, but the scandal is so eye-opening, I'm posting a couple of links here. I'll add more, as the story unfolds, especially since I'm reading about flooding/drainage/etc - which *are* land-use concerns, but for now, here are some links to the basics: Chicago Sun-Times New York Times Chicago Tribune
Efforts will soon be under way to restore the Prospect Cemetery, a Colonial-era cemetery in Jamaica, New York (on Long Island) after a fundraising effort generated $1.2 million. Earliest graves date to 1668.
The Miami Herald reports that the mystery surrounding a newly discovered burial ground grows deeper. Records show that more than 200 people may have been buried in the area - many of them Bahamian - but so far the remains of only about 20 people have been found. The remains were found during preliminary construction work on new affordable housing.
Some of the grounds look OK at a Statesville cemetery, according to this article, but there are broken and missing headstones and other problems, including larger one of who should be taking care of the cemetery.
"Show me your cemeteries, and I will tell you what kind of people you have." -- Benjamin Franklin
Where do we go when we die? This blog explores the places where cemeteries and land use intersect, and examines what urban planners and thinkers, communities and others are doing (and not doing) about cemeteries.
You can find a companion site at Facebook, and I'm tweeting about these subjects at Twitter, at @TaphoFiles.
You can read more about this blog at the Welcome post.
I am a journalist, adjunct professor of journalism and rural issues. I studied GIS, and I blog about cemeteries and land use, urban issues, and honey. All views expressed are those of the author alone.