Friday, October 26, 2012

Calif. cemetery-turned-dog park keeps tombstone from burial site

There's an interesting story this morning from CBS News about a woman from Carson City, Nevada, who tried to return a Spanish American War soldier's grave marker to the "cemetery" where he is buried:
A tombstone honoring a Spanish-American war soldier remains separated from the ground where the man's body was buried because that cemetery has been converted into a dog park.

CBS Los Angeles reports that a decades-long controversy over a recreational park continued when Cindy Southerland of Carson City Nevada traveled miles to Ventura, Calif. To return a tombstone her husband found in a canyon in the mid-1960's.

The headstone honored Edward Baker, a veteran of the Spanish-American war who died at 44 in 1913.

He was buried at St. Mary's Cemetery, but that land was turned into a recreational space about five decades ago.

Today, dogs and pedestrians play above nearly 3,000 bodies that remain buried at the grave site.
Read the rest of the story here. (Emphasis above added by me.)

Video from KCAL9

If you haven't heard the sad story of St. Mary's Cemetery, you can learn more at Restore St. Mary's Cemetery. What is truly unfortunate is that the majority of area residents prefer that the property be used as a dog park rather than it's intended purpose of a cemetery.

So... how would you feel to discover that your ancestor's final resting place was now a public potty for dogs?

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal


  1. Makes me sick! The lack of respect for the dead and their families is frightening.

  2. I completely agree, Nate. Not to mention the loss of history here. Can you imagine the frustration of someone making a genealogy trip to this Ventura "cemetery," only to find a bunch of dogs roaming around?

    There still are a few very small, flat markers in the park, but the lovely, historic, stand-up markers - like the one Ms. Southerland tried to return - have all been removed. It made me so sad to see what had happened to the final resting place of many Ventura pioneers. If you read the story of what happened to this cemetery, it will make you even sadder.

  3. This is incredibly sad! The tombstone was found in a canyon? What I am wondering is what happened to the rest of the tombstones? Where did they end up?

  4. What an incredible injustice for those buried there.

    I also see according to Geneabloggers, today is your 4th year anniversary since you've been blogging. Happy Blogiversary.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  5. Isn't it awful? @Jana, some of the grave markers were retrieved by family members, some were moved to the City Parks Department yard, others were simply stolen or vandalized. You can read the timeline of what happened to this cemetery at Restore St. Mary's Cemetery Timeline. It's a very sad story, and one that I've not heard of happening anywhere else in the U.S.

    Thank you for the blogiversary wishes, @Jim. Hard to believe it has already been 4 years!

  6. That's a horrific story. I think that here in the UK is is illegal to tamper with burial sites. Jo