Rehabilitating Mineral Point’s Old City Cemetery

The Old City Cemetery is the resting place of many of Mineral Point’s first settlers. Burials began as early as the 1830’s and continued until around 1906. In recent years the graveyard had fallen into serious disrepair. Jim Bennett from the City Parks Department cleared the graveyard of weeds and saplings. “You couldn’t see the stones when we started,” Jim said. His effort launched the 1st phase of the restoration that is now in progress.

Jim started framing broken stones with wooden frames. That’s when Dave and Nancy Larson stepped in.

After some on-line research and consulting Lynette Strangstad, author and professional graveyard preservationist, Dave showed Jim a way to mend the stones using a special adhesive. They got the green light from the City Council and the State Historical Society and started putting the Old City Cemetery back together. The crew includes Jim Bennett, Dave and Nancy Larson, Jim’s summer crew and Brian Englke.

The summer city parks crew are moving base stones
to a central storage point in the cemetery

Dave is finishing a new concrete base stone because
the original was unusable. To his right is an epoxied
stone that is being braced for 24 hours.
To date over 40 stones have been repaired. It has been a great puzzle. Nearly every day Dave, Jim and Nancy find a buried stone – usually in pieces. The stones, buried and standing, must be carefully cleaned in order to read the inscriptions. Making out what is chisled into the stone is often a challenge.

The word “MEMORY” being highlighted with a mirror.
The mirror is the recommended way of reading fading stones.
Nancy Larson is getting very good at making out these stones.

Sandstone Nursery and Tom Adams provided an American flag webThe flag pole was donated by the American Legion.
Sandstone Nursery and Tom Adams provided an American flag
This phase of the project also includes photographing and inventorying each tombstone. This fall Doug Norgord, cartographer at Geographic Techniques LLC, will map the cemetery so each known burial can be pin pointed. Basic family histories of the people buried in the cemetery is being done by a team consisting of Shan Thomas, Nancy Pfotenhauer and Joel Gosse.

There are many ways to help: repairing tombstones, doing genealogies, searching for photographs of the Old City Cemetery and the people buried there, helping with the Inventory.

See photographs of ongoing work and discoveries on
The Mineral Point Old City Cemetery Project on Facebook