Cemetery restoration moving slowly

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Cub Scout pack organizing a fun run to help raise money for repair

Chapter Three in the second life of Capitol Hill Cemetery is taking a slow but steady pace, as donations continue to trickle in, increased security is suggested and a youth group decides to dedicate part of its fund-raiser to cemetery repair and restoration.

A Cambridge City town employee discovered extensive damage to memorials and tombstones in the town’s oldest cemetery on April 1. Grave markers were not just knocked down: Whole stones and heavy decorations were picked up and cracked or smashed. Some had been carried to other parts of the cemetery and used to damage other stones.

Although a professional cemetery conservator estimated that it took several hours to create so much havoc in the cemetery, police have arrested no suspects, largely because the cemetery is isolated and no one is sure when the destruction occurred.

Established on two acres donated to the town at the time of its founding in 1836, no one has been buried there for more than 40 years. But two chapters have already been written for the cemetery .Chapter One of that story involved a junior history group with did repair and restoration there in the mid-1970s. Chapter Two started in 2014,when a group of volunteers headed by Aleesa and Greg Drennen decided on another restoration. Since, they put uncounted hours into cleaning and repairing the stones.

The April 1 attack undid much of their work, leading to Chapter Three.

Since then, the Drennens have been networking with local businesses and groups to stir support for a new round of major repair and restoration, Aleesa Drennen said. Some of that support has come from a totally unexpected source: Cub Scout Pack 6 of Cambridge City.

The pack, which includes children in kindergarten to fifth grade, is chartered to the New Day Kiwanis Club. Their parents are organizing a 3K Color Fun Run at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at the Western Wayne Elementary School track. Some of the funds raised will go toward repair of the cemetery. The rest will help provide activities and financial help for the Cub Scouts, said Alisha Nash Hood, who chairs the pack’s parent committee.

The Drennens have asked Cambridge City Town Council to consider putting up a gate at the cemetery’s entrance on the south end of Lee Street, in hopes of keeping vehicles out. They also are hopeful to get lighting installed along with a security system with video cameras that can record all visitors.

The Cambridge City Police Department has established an email tip line for anyone with information about this or other criminal incidents. Information can be sent to tips@cambridgecitypolice.in.gov. The department’s Facebook page cautions that people should still report a crime in progress by calling 911 or the town police department, 765-478-1231.

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