Saturday, August 01, 2009

Prescott's Historic Grave Sites

(Sorry to be late, but I wound up spending far too much time with PhotoShop, as there were over 25 pictures that needed processing, sizing, etc.! That's the problem with events or places where I keep clicking the shutter -- it always turns out that there are far more pics than suitable for a blog post. Followed by dithers, as to which to use and which to leave out. Which takes time. Etc.) In the meantime, back to the Citizens' Cemetery over on East Sheldon near Yavapai College. It was spring when friend Patty and I paid our visit to see the wildflowers. At that time, I promised a look at the grave markers.

A few facts about the graveyard, per the Yavapai Cemeteries website: The cemetery has more than 2,700 known (and many unknown) pioneers interred on 6.5 acres. Burials continued on a regular basis from 1864 to 1933. Following 1933, burials were held only for persons or family members who had already reserved a plot. In August 1994, Citizens Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and later included in the Prescott Armory Historic Preservation District. In order to protect the historic integrity of the cemetery, the Board of Supervisors has now closed the cemetery to all burials.

You might describe the shot above as then and now; the cemetery abuts the old Armory on the south, a mobile home court on the east and a handful of homes plus the Smoki on the west. The graveyard was neglected and weed grown when, in 1994, a group of local citizens formed an organization to restore this historic site. In spring, the plants, which include many local wildflowers, are allowed to flourish in the back half of the cemetery. One of the innovations of the Yavapai Cemetery Association is an old-fashioned Memorial Day service each year, honoring veterans of the Civil War and WWII, among others.

A handful of the monuments were of a red stone -- possibly sandstone. Do you suppose that part of the restoration effort has included removing lichen? Compare the upper stone with the cross below.

Another of the red stone monuments -- this in the form of a tree trunk. Yet another tree trunk is visible below, in the eastward view towards P-Mountain.

Natural granites and a shovel are among the other unusual markers at the cemetery. Is it likely that the man interred below was a miner?

A very very old wooden cross (above) and a pyramid (below).

Here are another pair of stones with a difference.

The occasional children's or infant's grave is a reminder that life was unforgiving in pioneer days. Particularly sad, above, is the marker for three children of the Day family.

This small stone for a dead infant is part of the Randall family plot (above, below).

Many of the more ornate grave monuments above and in the pictures that follow; I hope you enjoy your tour.

At the far end of the cemetery are a number of stones with current dates that appear to belie the statement that the Citizens Cemetery is closed to new burials. In fact, one stone for man and wife was as yet undated for the surviving partner. All of which has me curious, but then I'm always curious.

Festival of the Trees: The August edition of this monthly compilation of quite fascinating blog posts about trees is now on line at Trees, Plants and More. Subjects covered range from the Christmas tree farms of North Carolina to using shotguns to help reproduction of the American chestnut to a description of ten important tropical fruit trees. And I thank Arati for including my mash note about the Arizona sycamore.


Jarart said...

This was a great series of pictures of the old cemetery. Hubby and I spent the better part of two hours roaming around and reading tombstones a couple of months ago, when it was still cool.
We are glad to see it being cared for.
I agree with you about that sculpture I posted yesterday, it looks much better at night.

Omegadad said...

Brings back memories... on of my favorite former hobbies was wandering the backroads in search of cemeteries with interesting stones... reminds me, btw, there's a great old graveyard in holbrook. In one section... all infants... all about the same year.

meg said...

I love old cemeteries! There is so much history to discover, & the story of whole families. I truly do regret that we are now so Crematorioum minded, we dont want gravestones so the history will be lost. We had our mother's ashes added to her parents gravesites.

Granny J said...

jarart -- it would be possible to spend a lot of time here, especially if you are a Prescott old-timer.

od -- sounds like an epidemic. Wasn't a date coinciding with the WW1 flu, was it?

meg -- you raise an interesting point that I've never considered, about history. My mom had Papa's ashes scattered over the mountain where they met on a picnic and so I had hers scattered there as well. They both exist in the record, but we all know that engraved stone will quite outlast any printed page and certainly a microscopic batch of 1's and 0's.

Melanie A. said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who loves a stroll through the cemetery!

The Az. ones which hold the most romantic melancholy for me are the ones in lonely-looking places like Skull Valley and Congress--how often does one's grave get visited in such a location?

Granny J said...

melanie -- I don't know about Congress, but my impression of the Skull Valley cemetery is that it is visited quite often.

TomboCheck said...

My dad used to live right behind this cemetery. Many weekends we spent running wild between the graves, taking impressions with crayons and paper. :)

Granny J said...

tombo --what a fantastic playground!

ronni said...

Hey GrannyJ, anyone in Prescott interested in a book design class? Just posted over at

Thanks! Ronni

Kate said...

Interesting info and I loved the photos, too. Very creative. :)

Granny J said...

ronni -- I put a note at the end of my new post; it should get you more traffice than the comments...

kate -- 'tis an interesting site with a lot of local history, tho I suspect that the fraternal order cemeteries are equally historic.

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