Early in March the Ocker Monument company of Van Buren replaced the left side stone of a marker that displayed the names of Alma citizens that had contributed to the upkeep of the Alma Cemetery for several years. The stone had been damaged by vandals and could not be repaired. Ocker was able to add Mr. David Woolly’s name to the new stone to signify his recent contribution to the upkeep of the cemetery.
There has been some controversy over the years about who the cemetery belongs to. There are deeds for sections of the cemetery that are within the area that has been surrounded by fencing for years.
In addition, there are hand written accounts from the early 20s that indicated city funds were paid for upkeep and repairs for the cemetery.
The Alma Parks Department has done a remarkable job of maintaining the cemetery. We live in a rural environment and will continue in the mode for several years even though Alma is the second largest city in Crawford County.
A small community cemetery grew along with the growth of the city. A place that was once maintained by the personal care and donations of the families in the community still requires a great deal of attention. In the early 1900s there was a group of young ladies known as the Cemetery Girls that kept the grounds manicured.
If all of this sounds like a lead up to some fundraising ideas, then I have succeeded. The City of Alma has a deed to the cemetery and rightfully so, as it is a historic landmark that belongs to this community. Alma has a parks department that is committed to maintaining city property. They do an excellent job. The years of neglect have presented many unusual challenges to the city. A huge item is the trees that have grown out of control; that will have to be dealt with in the near future. Removal and reducing growth will be a priority.
I would encourage the citizens of Alma to take an interest in preserving this historical landmark through personal gifts or community organizations that have fundraising abilities.
Alma Mayor Keith Greene