GALLATIN, Tenn. (WSMV) -- The City of Gallatin is asking for help to make some much-needed repairs to the historic city cemetery.
“Day by day, we’re seeing our history disappear,” said Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown. “The cemetery faces years of aging, shrinking space for new arrivals, and the realization that maintenance of the cemetery can no longer be handled with only lawnmowers and weed eaters.”
City leaders just launched a 12-week fundraiser they hope will raise the $30,000 needed to fix up a list of issues identified by the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation.
According to MTSU's report, things in need of attention include damage to tombs from herbicide use and lawnmowers, broken and falling headstones, deteriorating fences, and sinking and shifting markers.
“Our first goal of raising funds will be dedicated to the low-hanging fruit of repairs on the site…cleaning and resetting markers that have sunken or fallen over the years,” said committee member Ken Thomson. “The idea of the 12-week fundraiser is so that we can start using the funds at the start of Spring.”
Another big issue already being addressed is the unidentified graves in the African-American section of the cemetery. While some of the burials were not properly documented, according to city officials, many of the burial records were destroyed in a fire back in the 1950s.
Thanks to a $15,000 donation from Volunteer State Bank, the city was able to find more than a 100 unmarked burial sites using ground-penetrating radar.
In addition to identifying those graves, the city said they are also researching monument designs that would honor those buried in the back section before the cemetery was desegregated.
Donations of any amount can be made in the Gallatin City Hall Mayor’s Office at 132 W. Main. For more information on fundraising efforts or volunteer efforts to restore the cemetery please call 615-451-5961.