Caretakers are Restoring Life to Minnesota’s 5,876 Graveyards

A database has identified 5,876 cemeteries across Minnesota, but the number is likely much larger — in areas adjacent to rural churches taken by development, or in overgrown woods, or long-forgotten in farm fields.

A bill in the Legislature would require local governments to take responsibility for abandoned cemeteries if a veteran is buried there. It also would establish an adopt-a-cemetery program similar to the one used for highways and require the state Historical Society to update its inventory of state cemeteries, abandoned cemeteries and burial grounds.

You can read the details in an article by Mark Brunswick in the Star Tribune web site at:

My thanks to newsletter reader Polly Walker for telling me about this story.


Wouldn’t it be nice if this law were repeated all over the country? A group of us have restored a 150 year old black cemetery which contains about a dozen veterans’ graves, and we did it with no help (other than moral support and advice) from local governments.
We are now trying to restore a 180 year old black cemetery which has been tossed back and forth for 30 years; it is within city limits, but the city won’t do anything until a deed for that cemetery can be found — a deed which does NOT exist according to county authorities. It’s just the city’s way of avoiding having to do anything about an historic black cemetery.
BTW, even the black members of the cemetery committee and city council go along with the white members, when they of all people should know better. Deeds for ANY black-owned property 100+ years ago are extremely rare.


Way to go Michael, I agree it would be nice (if a pipe dream) to have a law like Minnesota’s across the country. Congrats on restoring a cemetery.


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