There is a battle brewing in Reno, Nevada between genealogists, historians, preservationists and land developers over the future of the Hillside Cemetery which houses graves of several Reno pioneers. The Find-A-Grave page for Hillside lists over 1,400 interments!
The Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation has been working hard to make sure that local residents are aware of plans to exhume the bodies and the owner’s plans to develop the current land. In addition, they are trying to contact descendants of those buried there to get involved and have a voice in the process. The foundation is in favor of keeping the bodies where they are currently and working on a restoration of the cemetery rather than relocation:
“Hillside Cemetery is the oldest established cemetery in Reno, NV and it has suffered severe neglect, vandalism, and threats from developers for decades. This amazing Victorian Garden cemetery has not been properly cared for since Wiltshire Saunders passed away in 1905. A few families maintain their family plots but it is difficult to appreciate their effort when the rest of the grounds are in such disrepair. At this time, Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation’s small group of volunteers currently clean the grave sites. However it will take more involvement from the community, and a number of years to recover from the vandalism and neglect of Hillside Cemetery. Currently, developers have their sites on this historical treasure because of its location, which is close to the University of Nevada Reno. Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation is dedicated to preserving and protecting our oldest cemetery through community involvement and education. We must work together to save Hillside for future generations.”
Recent News Stories
Here are some recent news stories about the progress of the exhumation plans:
- Plans to Exhume Bodies for Potential Development at Hillside Cemetery Suspended – September 29, 2016, KTVN News, Reno
- Plans to Develop Hillside Cemetery are Suspended – September 29, 2016, KOLO News, Reno
Visit the In The News page here on the Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation’s website for complete news coverage.
Hillside Cemetery Restoration – An Opposing View?
There is also quite a bit of confusion over the exhumation issue if you visit this website named Hillside Cemetery Restoration. While it is not known who is behind this effort, but it seems to advocate moving the bodies and promises a complete restoration as well as relocation:
“The restoration will fulfill a vision that has been shared by the City of Reno, the State of Nevada, institutions and individuals dating back as early as the 1920’s. The restoration will be a privately funded consolidation of the cemetery to its northern section with appropriate monuments, memorials, fencing and financial provision for the cemetery’s ongoing care. The restoration is enabled by longstanding Nevada law and will be accomplished by archeologists and other professionals and experts experienced in such relocation and restoration projects.”
Some Recent Videos on the Hillside Cemetery Crisis
Here are some videos to watch so you can get acquainted with the issues involved:
How You Can Help!
The Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation has put together a comprehensive “call to action” page at http://hcpfoundation.squarespace.com/call-to-action/ – please review the various ways that you can get involved. Most importantly, please scroll to the bottom of the page and add your name to the Petition!
©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.