The St. Patrick’s cemetery that is located in Arroyo Grande, California, was in need of restoration. It is a small cemetery that has been neglected over the years. It was unclear who would be able to restore it. A Facebook page was created to encourage the church to save St. Patrick’s cemetery. Restoration efforts have recently begun.
The land that St. Patrick’s cemetery sits on was originally owned by a man named John Michael Price. He was a pioneer on the Central Coast of California (and the man who developed Pismo Beach, California). Price sold his land to the Archdiocese of Monterey in the late 1880’s specifically so the church could use it as a cemetery. The land was sold for one dollar. The sale took place on August 13, 1887.
John Michael Price sold the land to Francis Mora, who was the Bishop of Monterrey and Los Angeles Band. It has been said that John Michael Price saw the land as a place where he would like to be buried. It had a nice view.
Over time, the cemetery was where the founding fathers of Arroyo Grande were buried. The last burial was of a woman named Kate (or Katherine) Chapek, who died on January 30, 1981. Kate’s husband, Matt Chapek, was also buried there. He died the same day she did. About 220 people are buried in St. Patrick’s cemetery.
Community members created a Facebook page to urge the Archdiocese to restore St. Patrick’s cemetery. It had been damaged by vandals, thieves, and weather over the years. Church officials have released a plan for restoring the cemetery. The first step was to repair about 15 -20 headstones and monuments that had been toppled and were broken. That portion of the plan has been completed.
The church is in the process of deciding upon two potential solutions for further restoration. One option is to have a landscape architect bring in decorative small rock. It is a simple, low maintenance, solution (which would only require occasional spraying of weeds.)
The second potential solution is to introduce wildflowers and native plants into St. Patrick’s cemetery. The initial cost of this plan would be low, but it will require long-term maintenance. It is hoped that the community would help with the maintenance (if this solution is the one selected for the cemetery). Those who want to help should start by visiting the “Save St. Patrick’s Cemetery” Facebook page.
Image by Tom Hilton on Flickr
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