Last night after work, I headed over to my first meeting of the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery Friends Group, otherwise known as SLZPCFG. (Try saying THAT five times fast.) This is a very informal group formed in 2010, with no dues, no formal membership paperwork, and no required number of donated hours. Their goal to restore the extremely dilapidated Pioneer Cemetery that was opened around 1864, and which is badly in need of restoration and preservation. Eventually they hope to open it to the public for tours, and are working on making it a state historic site.
By the time the meeting was over, I was almost drooling with anticipation. They have a licensed archaeologist in the group, and they are also in touch with various conservation professionals. Sometime in the near future (probably next year), they will be having workshops on how to clean, restore and preserve old headstones and other statuary found in the cemetery so that we can actually do it ourselves. Sweet!! This is the kind of thing I was hoping to encounter with this group, and it sounds like I won't be disappointed.
In the meantime, there's a cleanup day next weekend, and a fundraiser the following weekend. I've already volunteered for the fundraiser, and although next Saturday's schedule is crowded, I'm going to see if I can get over there for at least an hour to check it out and maybe help a bit. Since the cemetery is closed to the public right now (it's in such bad shape that it's actually dangerous in areas, and we are not allowed to use shovels or trowels, as we might accidentally cause a grave to collapse), I can't just go in and look around; I have to go when the gates are open and someone is there to supervise. So it will be worth taking the time to do that before the fundraiser. It will be open then as well, but I don't know if I'll have much chance of looking around.
Here are a few pictures of the cemetery. You can see why it needs friends!
Even the tombstones are leaning, right along with the weeds. And broken headstones are always sad, especially when they've been vandalized...
I don't think this tree was QUITE this big when it was planted. Maybe it wasn't even planted, maybe a bird brought the seed. Either way, it's a problem now.
Apparently the cemetery was in MUCH worse condition when they started in 2010, but between their efforts and the county stepping in to help periodically, it has been greatly improved. I'm looking forward to making my own impression here! :-)