Non-profit to raise funds to restore historic cemetery in Minneapolis

Laymans/Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery, 2925 Cedar Ave. S., established in 1853, is the oldest cemetery in Minneapolis and is in need of funds to help restore and preserve some of its historical elements that are now in a fragile state. The 27-acre home to more than 20,000 graves of settlers and early residents (and only cemetery in Minnesota to be listed as an individual landmark on the Nation Register of Historic Places) is on the Preservation Alliance of Minnesotas 2008 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places.

Shown here are the pictures of the front entrance of the Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, a portion of its 1,953 feet of steel fencing and an example of the deterioration along the fence.

Friends of the Cemetery, a nonprofit and all-volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of this historic landmark has launched an Adopt-A-Picket fundraiser to raise $100,000 for the restoration of the decorative steel and limestone pillar fence that was built in 1928 to protect the cemetery against vandalism. Over the years, pollution, aging and vandalism have taken a toll causing the fence and gate to be in desperate need of repair.

Estimates for repairing the fence range from $750,000 to $1,000,000. The nonprofit has received $350,000 in state and City of Minneapolis funds allocated to restoring the fence and other grants requests are pending. Friends of the Cemetery would like to raise $100,000 in private donations through the Adopt-A-Picket campaign. The cost of adopting a picket is $30 and donors will receive a limited-edition certificate of contribution. Individuals and organizations can also adopt entire sections of the fence. The fence is 1,953 feet long and contains 3,510 pickets.

Donations of any size, large or small, are welcome and may be sent to: Friends of the Cemetery, P. O. Box 7345, Minneapolis, MN 55407. You can also donate online by going to the Friends of the Cemetery website. Friends of the Cemetery is a tax-exempt organization and all contributions are tax deductible.

Published Sep. 24, 2009