If people are already forgotten, should cemeteries be saved?


There are 6,000 or so cemeteries in Minnesota and over half of them may be abandoned, according to the Minnesota state archeologist, Scott Anfinson.

Also: Minnesota has a state archeologist.

“A lot of them are family cemeteries that are on farmsteads,” he tells KARE 11.

And farmers want more ground to plant so some are plowing some of the cemeteries under.

Should the cemeteries be saved?

Anfinson wants a full-time person to help do so.

“If we had a full time person dedicated to cemeteries I think a lot would get done,” he said. “This is hallowed ground and it deserves to be preserved.”

But if the cemeteries are abandoned, and the headstones don’t reveal the name of a person, haven’t the people buried there already been forgotten to time?

  • BReynolds33

    The best part of the story on KARE11 last night was when they noted that, “unlike Wisconsin and Iowa, Minnesota does not have a full time *burial* archaeologist.” As though we needed one.

  • Jim G

    My wife was raised in Ventura, California. It has a Catholic Mission and an adjourning cemetery. It also has a large cemetery in the center of town a few blocks up the hill from main street. Today neither cemetery has markers/headstones. The Mission turned their cemetery into a beautiful garden. However, back in the Sixties the Ventura City Council voted to remove the city cemetery’s headstones. They were collected and dumped in a landfill. It caused a small furor that was soon extinguished as family relations of the city’s residents from the 19th and early 20th century also passed from this earthly vale. Today the land is used as an open space park.

  • goldwingj1

    Minnesota does indeed have a law protecting cemeteries, whether private or public:


    ALL cemeteries in MN should be protected & preserved; what if future generations want to visit a gravesite? I know as a geneologist, it is important that I be able to visit cemeteries in MN to track down “missing” members of my family

  • Roberta

    My great-grandfather is in an abandoned cemetery. I am working with the nearby City to try to get him moved before a new project takes over that area threatening the destruction of his grave. There are only 2 gravestones left there. How can we as a people abandon our dead this way and ignore them? I understand MN has some of the strictest rules in the nation as to touching a cemetery and it is very tough to get the needed permits approved. But what is there to stop a developer from buying up that land and dumping whatever he finds in the nearest swamp? Hopefully some people will back the efforts to help preserve these graves.