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Help Save Douglas County’s Historic Headstones

Last autumn, vandals seriously damaged more than a dozen of the oldest and most fragile headstones at Kinkead Cemetery in Alexandria. Since then, DCHS has been searching for ways to help our local historic cemeteries – after all, our history quite literally rests within our local cemeteries.

We are establishing a new Cemetery Care & Aid Program to support Douglas County’s cemeteries through different initiatives and programs – including volunteer projects with local groups, a workshop visit from the 48 State Tour, and a visit from Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps.

But we need your help.

We need to raise $16,000 to cover materials and related costs for restoration & repair work this summer. Any amount raised in excess will be rolled over into future Cemetery Projects in 2023.

You can donate online by card by visiting GiveMN.org/Story/DCHS-Cemetery, in person or by mailing a check to our location at 1219 Nokomis St in Alexandria, MN 56308, or by calling us at 320-762-0382. Thank you!

Once the weather cooperates, DCHS will lead volunteer groups on clean up and repair projects at local cemeteries. If you or your group are interested in taking on one of these projects, please email the DCHS Volunteer Coordinator Liz Paul at Liz.Paul@dchsmn.org or call DCHS at 320-762-0382.

DCHS reached out to The 48 State Tour, a national tour of cemetery preservation workshops led by Jonathan Appell. We told their team about the vandalism and asked if they could help – and they put Kinkead Cemetery on the route as their Minnesota location for this year’s tour. Please join DCHS and The 48 State Tour for a FREE Cemetery Restoration & Repair Workshop on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 9am at Kinkead Cemetery. All are invited to participate and learn common, safe, and effective gravestone repair/cleaning techniques. Cleaning of Veteran stones is a workshop priority.

The day will begin with a historic walk and talk tour and survey of the cemetery. The workshop is HANDS ON! Participants will be able to “adopt” a stone and perform cleaning processes.

At this workshop, the most common repair techniques will be discussed and performed including resetting leaning or sunken stones, joining broken stone fragments using epoxy, clamps, and bracing techniques.

In August, Kinkead Cemetery will also be visited by the Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps. NBHPC is an organization that trains young adults in preservation trades by partnering with trade professionals and ‘Project Hosts’ like DCHS to provide engaging, hands-on learning experiences while restoring Minnesota’s historic structures and landscapes.

NBHPC has visited our neighbors at the Pope County Historical Society in previous years to complete cemetery restoration projects and lead public workshops. Our goal is to also arrange a free public cemetery preservation workshop with NBHPC in August.

That’s where we need your help.

We need to raise $16,000 to cover materials and related costs for restoration & repair work this summer. Any amount raised in excess will be rolled over into future Cemetery Projects in 2023.

Many of the oldest stones most in need of care were people who died with no descendants or estates to care for their graves – like young men killed in military service or children who died of illness.

Please consider a donation to help us build our Cemetery Care & Aid Program.

You can donate online by card by visiting GiveMN.org/Story/DCHS-Cemetery, in person or by mailing a check to our location at 1219 Nokomis St in Alexandria, MN 56308, or by calling us at 320-762-0382. Thank you!