Cemetery Park

by Susan
(Ventura)

I've heard that Cemetery Park found the graves of soldiers and laid them to rest somewhere else? Does anyone know the real story of Cemetery Park?

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Jan 15, 2013
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they are still there
by: arellanes

no the city never moved them one of my ancesters is buried under the parking lot he served in the mexican/american war and people park over him all the time and have no clue hes buried under there car.

Jan 20, 2013
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lunch at park
by: Anonymousbj

i livein ventura i ve had lunch on old gravestones , there are alot of folks buried there .. i guess theres not much to move huh, kinda sad

Feb 03, 2013
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Graves paved over for parking lot
by: Miss kitty

I thought they had to move people not pave over and build a parking lot on top of them? I'd be kinda pissed if one of my past relatives was being parked on. Well to me it just is showing no respect for the dead. Where is there besides the cemetery by Salzer's to be laid to rest? I did find a really old cemetery off pleasant valley road and bard. There were some headstones with well known people's names on them. And a Japanese cemetery was right next to it. Its very Kewl. I've heard cemetery park has a few angry ghosts! Probably the guy that got paved over so oil leaking cars can park to shop downtown!!

Jun 09, 2013
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Cemetery Park
by: Lisa K

I was a small child when this happened. My Father was City Planning Director and I recall having this conversation with him...seriously. The cemetery was a mess, graves caved in, broken headstones. I remember him telling me that they made attempts to contact the family's of all of the recorded deceased. They needed permission to move the bodies to Ivy Lawn. If they could not locate next of kin, they coud not move the bodies. It was not designed as a dog park, merely a park that was planted with grass. I recall it being lots of dirt and very scary with the graves falling in. I also remember some very beautiful headstones. They moved the headstones to simplify the lawn mowing ....this is what I was told 45-50 years ago. I am not saying it was handled in the best way. I am sorry for all of the suffering.

Jul 22, 2013
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The old, historic cemetary on East Main Street
by: Russell

As a teenager I remember the contraversy over moving graves at the cemetary. It caused quite an uproar in Ventura and surrounding areas. As a kid I do remember the cemetary being run down and looking spooky and the contraversy over the graves did play a part in my decision to not be burried in the ground when I die. I remember being a sensitive kid about death.

Aug 30, 2013
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Cemetery Park
by: Tim

The story of St. Mary's Cemetery is a tragic tale. Most know it as a dog park, or as Cemetery Park, but it is not a park, and it's use and classification as one by the City is illegal.

St. Mary's Cemetery was created by the Catholic Church in the mid-late 1800's. Some of it was later run and operated by the City up until the early 1940's. We have interred many pioneering families and veterans of the Civil War through World War I. We also have interred a Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

The Church lost interest in maintaining the cemetery and deeded it to the City. The City stopped burials and also lost interest in the property. Weeds sprung up. Tombstones toppled over. Crypts caved in. The neighbors and residents began taking issue.

It was wasted real estate with spectacular views. The City knew it could do nothing with a cemetery. The plan was hatched to use it as a park. To legally do so all 3000 bodies would have to be exhumed.

The City decided to do two things: shuffling all tombstones and crypt materials to the side to "clean things up," and begin trying to notify descendants of the opportunity to pay to exhume and re-bury their ancestors at Ivy Lawn. Half of 200 letters were responded to, leaving the City in a tight spot it chose to gloss over.

Some bodies were relocated. Tombstones and crypts were taken to Hall Canyon, then dumped into a levee. The property was landscaped. A parking lot was built (OVER OCCUPIED GRAVES) and a recreation center built next door. Flush markers were left. The recreation center suffered structural problems so bodies were exhumed for repairs in 1969. Those repairs failed and the center was demolished. No bodies have been exhumed since. .

Today, there is much controversy over the site. Those that want the dignity of the dead preserved, fighting the City and the cemetery neighbors who want their dogs to poop freely. The City's repulsive actions have been answered with lip service and nonsense. They half-heatedly try to pacify residents' pleas to restore the cemetery. They refuse requests to allow veterans to relocate the Medal of Honor recipient to a military cemetery but at the same time refuse to do him the honor he deserves, along with his buried brethren.

Small attempts have been made. Descendants can request the City install a flush brass market on a grave, free of charge. No real efforts have been made to retrieve the confiscated tombstones. Those that have been accidentally discovered over the years have not been been returned.

Shame on you, Ventura! Your crimes have amassed for over fifty years!

For the complete story with more detail and pictures, visit http://www.restorestmarys.org/

Sep 15, 2013
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CEMETERY PARK INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK
by: Anonymous

GO TO-DESCENDENTS OF EARLY PIONEERS BURIED AT VENTURA CEMETERY[AKA CMP] Thanks!!

Sep 21, 2013
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cemetery park
by: Anonymous

thank you all for the information. I remember as a teenager us running though the cemetary scared. Long time ago as I am 74. Now I take my dog.

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