Condition of historic Hillsdale cemetery improves after donation - KMOV.com

Condition of historic Hillsdale cemetery improves after donations

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Before donations were made and volunteers got involved, weeds covered graves in Greenwood Cemetery. Before donations were made and volunteers got involved, weeds covered graves in Greenwood Cemetery.

A  cemetery listed on the National Registry of Historic Places has received attention and care since News 4 Investigates reports in May and July drew attention to complaints about the cemetery's condition. Greenwood Cemetery opened in 1874 and was one of the first commercial African-American cemeteries.

In May, families of those buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Hillsdale called the conditions of the pre-Civil War burial grounds "ridiculous." Some headstones were covered by grass and weeds and others said they came to the Cemetery to mow the grass surrounding the graves of their loved ones.

After a second segment in July, donations began to trickle in for the Cemetery, which has no owners, no endowment or money. The only remaining member of the Volunteer Cemetery Board is Etta Daniels, who has been working to improve the conditions of the burial grounds.

"To me it's always encouraging to come here and see the change that has been made," said Daniels.

In July, the Cemetery was at risk of being auctioned with three years of property taxes owed. Daniels has been able to pay the property's taxes using donations after the July News 4 Investigates report.

"I will pay the balance and that makes us totally out of trouble," Daniels said.

Along with donations, offers to mow, weed and clean the property were also made.

"We have way more than we can manage right now, but we would at least like for it to look like a Cemetery, so that when people drive past they don't think its just a weed patch," said Daniels.

Pastor Walter Hilton's brother was buried at Greenwood years ago, when he was a child, so Pastor Hilton brought members of his church out to the property to help.

"A lot of the time we forget about our past, and this is our past," Hilton said. "We gonna save this, this is us, and we're gonna save this."

Anyone who wants to help clean up Greenwood Cemetery can visit the cemetery's Facebook page.

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