June 10, 2014

Cemetery vandalism destroying history

The Ninth Street Cemetery’s historical value is well documented and is home to many of Logansport’s forefathers. This was one of our community’s very first historical landmarks. The first interment was the baby girl of William Smith that died in 1828, in the cabin of Daniel Bell that stood just south of the cemetery.

In the past vandalism at Ninth Street Cemetery has gone undetected for months because the cemetery is very old and rarely visited. This public cemetery was always open 24/7 with no way to control people coming in and out. The vandalism occurred simply because it could with the results left to the city of Logansport, which shouldn’t be forced to repair the same monuments over and over. And concerned members of the Cass County Historical Society, a non-profit, volunteer driven organization, shouldn’t have to bear the burden and expense, either. Many a fund raiser has been held to make repairs but grave marker repair in Ninth Street Cemetery is costly. The majority of head stones are over one hundred years old. The success of a repair depends on the skill of the person doing it and on the amount of damage. Over time professional restorations have been scheduled and completed thanks to funds provided by benefactors working through the Cass County Historical Society. One of the main contributors has donated literally thousands of dollars for the cemetery. John Koontz saw to it that a marker was set into place engraved with all of the names of people buried there that have no marker.

The good news is that our community has shown appreciation for these efforts. In 2006, during Mayor Fincher’s administration a new set of steps were installed and the alley was given much needed attention. Now, in 2014 a serious effort is being made by Mayor Franklin to deter vandals such as having local police conduct nightly patrols of the cemetery, and placing a security light near the center of the cemetery. Superintendent OF Public Works, Dan Williams has placed signs for cemetery hours indicating that after hours is considered trespassing and is addressing the natural enemies of old monuments such as dead trees that can fall on top of them. Cameras, lights and security patrols appear to be the best methods of stopping cemetery vandalism. Neighborhood watch helps as well.

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