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Directory helps families locate graves at cemetery

Visitors to Prairie Lawn Cemetery, both locals and those from out-of-town, will be surprised by changes that have taken place at the cemetery during the past year.

Months of planning and work have gone into the creation of a directory of every grave in the cemetery. A map of the property was developed to help people find graves they wish to visit.

The directory is housed in a limestone shelter to protect it from the weather. It is user-friendly and the markers that designate different areas of the cemetery by number are a helpful addition.

“Our original plans included a computerized directory, but after we discovered http://www.findagrave.com it was no longer necessary,” cemetery board member Carmen South said. “The website was created in 1995 and has grown to include more than 36 million grave sites all over the world. It is a free site and anyone can become a member, submit data, create a memorial, or search the database at no charge.

“With the help of some very dedicated volunteers, we have more than 5,000 burials entered for Prairie Lawn along with photos of the head stones,” she added.

Anyone with questions about the site may contact South at cksouth57@yahoo.com.

According to cemetery board member Virginia Skinner the most recent upgrades to the cemetery have come this spring with landscaping added to the area around the directory.

“Where the entry drive makes a ‘V’ in front of the directory building, Flint Hills ledge stones have been placed in two tiers to control erosion and provide several areas for landscaping with grasses and perennials,” she said. “Everett and Barbara Brooks donated the large limestone rocks. Chris Young of Greenleaf Prairie Landscaping installed them and planted the area with native grasses and perennials.”

Funding for the directory and entrance update is from memorial funds.

In November, six deciduous trees that had been donated also were planted. Two red bud trees and a maple tree are on the far north side. Three maple trees were planted in the area near the center flagpole.

“A tree-planting program is now in place for anyone who wishes to donate a tree to the cemetery,” Skinner said. “Each year the cemetery board will match the first three donated trees.”

A list of suggested trees is available from Skinner or any board member.

The next major improvement still in the planning stages is a wrought iron fence along the west side of the property. Fundraising has begun for this project and donations may be sent to Prairie Lawn Cemetery board treasurer Carmen South at 11824 NE 60th St, Peabody KS 66866.

The cemetery board invites everyone to take a drive to Prairie Lawn Cemetery and see the latest additions.

“As always, the board looks forward to your comments and suggestions,” Skinner said.

Last modified May 19, 2011

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