Memorial Day at Historical Union Cemetery in
Redwood City, CA c.1859
Historical Union Cemetery in Redwood City, CA c.1859. If you would like to read more about Union Cemetery click this link.
Redwood City, CA: Every Memorial Day the Archives Committee and the Redwood City Library celebrate memories of Redwood City pioneers and soldiers. Better known as their Memorial Day ceremony at Union Cemetery. It is their annual Memorial Day event held on Woodside Road (CA 84) near El Camino Real in Redwood City. The celebration is every Memorial Day and starts at 10:00 AM.
Who Are The Archives and the Union Cemetery Committees?
The Archives Committee and the Union Cemetery Committee have worked on this celebration for many years. They are continuously trying to make it an experience enjoyable for all. Their efforts over the years was mainly cleaning and clearing debris until the early 1970’s.
In the 1970’s Union Cemetery condition got worse. For example. there was a need for repairs to the stone markers on graves, damages to the burial crypts, and the fencing. It didn’t stop there as there was a need to rebuild broken fixtures like the windmill and the bronze Union Soldier Statue.
The Committee worked with anyone who offered their help. This included Redwood City’s commissions and committees. The Historical Resources Advisory Committee, (HRAC) were one of them. Additionally, the City Council came to the table with their funding.
In other words, many concerned residents helped. They improved the landscaping, installed lighting, and assisted with on going patrolled security. It was the combined efforts of residences who wanted to preserve Redwood City history for future generations.
The straw that broke the camel’s back
In the 1970’s Union Cemetery was a favorite site for vandals. There was extensive damage to most grave sites. Vandalism to the cemetery ran rampant. Usually around Halloween people entered into the cemetery and perform some “witch-craft rituals”. Vandals preformed grave etchings, they built fires and performed satanic rituals on make-shift alters. Damage to the gravesides was not uncommon. The grounds became an embarrassment to the whole community.
What damage was done?
Stopping the ongoing damage became top priority of concerned citizens. These citizens took it upon themselves to reclaim Union Cemetery. The desire was to return the Union Cemetery to its original state. First, they removed the bronze Union Soldier Statue. The Committee relocated it to a safe location. They hired, and paid for, cleanup and security of the Cemetery including repairs and restoration of the Union Solider Statue.
The concerned citizens took it upon themselves to repaired damaged grave sites. They fixed broken wooden crosses, head stones, and metal fencing. They found opened concrete burial crypts too. Those crypts were re-sealed and secured.
The Archives Committee and the Union Cemetery Committee brought in the City Arborist for his expert advice. There was a need to grade and inspect all the trees. Including in his findings was a plan to protect the Victorian Roses in the Cemetery.
The Archives Committee’s commitment to the preservation of Union Cementer caused many residents to see what the Archives Committee had done and what a great job they did to restore our history. Their work created a sense of community pride.
The Redwood City Council was instrumental in their support of the Union Cemetery through their funding. Their ongoing resources, support and encouragement lessen the burden for this large and much needed project. The City Council along with various Commissions and Committees were forth coming with their support too.
Where can I read more about Union Cemetery?
If you would like to know more about Union Cemetery go to the Downtown Main Library located at 1044 Middlefield Road. Go to the second floor and look in the Archives Room. There’s a wealth of information about Redwood City history in that room.
You can look around this blog for other information on other historical facts of Redwood City. There are great books available on the history of Redwood City. They may be purchased at the Main Library Downtown Redwood City on the Second floor.
As a side note you’ll discover from reading these various publication the Redwood City had the FIRST public library in the State of California. Pretty impressive!
Enjoy your Memorial Day.
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