Jun 272012

Photo by Linda Kor -- City employee Marcos Serna works to maintain the Holbrook Cemetery grounds. Beyond Serna crosses marked as “unknown” are now in place. Holbrook Heritage Preservation recently created the crosses in order to identify gravesites without markers.

What began as a History of Holbrook Facebook group has started a grass-roots effort to preserve local his-tory and honor the past in the oldest portion of the Holbrook Cemetery. An offshoot of the History Group, which has become Holbrook Heritage Preservation, is made up of former and current Holbrook residents, as well as those who have a family history in Holbrook. When City Manager Ray Alley and Parks and Recreation Supervisor Tim Kelley were approached, they offered encouragement and assistance. The city has since made it possible for the group to receive donations, and a map was provided in order to identify gravesites. In a little over a month, Holbrook Heritage Preservation has already begun to spur donations of cash, labor and materi-als.

Using the city’s map and another shared provided by Arlen Scorse, which was created in 1980 by Boy Scout Troop 156, the locations of many graves were found for which all records of the deceased had been lost through the years. The maps simply say these graves are “unknown.” When Bill Perkins of Perkins Valley offered to make appropriate rustic crosses from weathered wood for these “unknown” graves, they became the first group project. To identify them in a lasting way, Randy Murph, owner of Welding Services of Holbrook, volunteered to fabricate a branding iron to brand each cross as “unknown.” Since then, many of these crosses have been put in place by Perkins with the help of Thomas and Peggy Sample.

The next phase of the project will be to provide lasting identification for those graves named on the maps, but which have lost their markers over time.

Although still small, the Holbrook Heritage Preservation Group has already begun to make a difference in the historic portion of the cemetery. Even those who live away from Holbrook have offered donations, re-search, promotion and expertise. It is a loosely formed group, with input greatly appreciated, and individual talents and ideas put into action. Donations can be made to The City of Holbrook, Cemetery Project. If you’d like to take part in the group, please contact Jerrie Paschal at jerrieshome@msn.com or Rebecca Beck at rebeccabeck@me.com, or visit on Facebook at Historical Preservation of Holbrook.