Cemetery preservationist to speak in SCV Feb. 20
Historical Society to host cemetery preservationist Feb. 20
Steven Schleder, who is leading the campaign to restore the historic St. Mary’s and Ventura Cemeteries in the city of Ventura, will speak at a meeting of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, Sunday, February 20 at 2 p.m. An installation of new officers for the Society will also be conducted.
In 1965, the city of Ventura converted St. Mary’s Cemetery and Ventura Cemetery, a combined 7-acre parcel a few blocks from its historic downtown, into a city park, removing tombstones, memorials, crypts and grave markers, some dating back to the mid-1800s, disposing of them in landfills and using them to bolster the levee at the Olivas Adobe. Burials at the site include Medal of Honor recipient Pvt. James Sumner who fought in the Indian War and Major General William Vandever, a Union officer who went on to serve in Congress, as well as 46 Civil War veterans and many Ventura county and city leaders.
Schleder wants the city to restore the headstones and return the cemetery to its original state of hallowed ground. He will bring historic photographs and artifacts that have been recovered from backyards and beaches to illustrate his cause.
The meeting will be held at the Saugus Train Station in Heritage Junction Historic Park, within William S. Hart Park in downtown Newhall. Attendance is free and refreshments will be served. For information, call (661) 254-1275.