Skip to comments.Sylmar’s Pioneer Cemetery Gets Some Needed Attention on Memorial Day
Posted on 05/29/2009 6:04:33 PM PDT by cowboy_code
Sylmar's Pioneer Cemetery Gets Some Needed Attention on Memorial Day
San Fernando Valley Historical Society held their annual Memorial Day activities at the historic Pioneer Memorial Cemetery located in Sylmar. This small plot of fenced land is the second oldest cemetery in the San Fernando Valley. Within its very rough cemetery grounds are individual's tombs that have their own stories to tell anyone interested in knowing them. On this Memorial Day, Civil War veterans (shamefully in currently unmarked graves) were the center of attention by the day's memorial speeches. However, there are many more unmarked veterans tombs of several historical U.S. battles along with many unmarked adults and helpless infant graves. They had died from of disease outbreaks and local natural disasters. Pioneer Cemetery is at 14451 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar, CA 91342. San Fernando Valley Historical Society had several cemetery remembrances and activities on the gated site. A large interested crowd was treated to melodious bagpipe music, prayers for the cemetery souls, patriotic speeches & music, flag raising, respectable 21 rifle salute and taps playing. At the center flag draped podium, the San Fernando Valley Historical Society host arranged to have several deserving state, city & club 'appreciation' certificates awarded to notable community individuals for their cemetery volunteerism. The event was enjoyable and gave me a way to visit the cemetery internments after driving by for months now.
The land has gone through many hands; San Fernando Cemetery Association, Native Daughters of the Golden West, Sylmar Civic Association, California Federation of Women's Clubs, San Fernando Women's Club, and presently San Fernando Valley Historical Society. Once visiting the grounds of this cemetery for this patriotic day event, any local citizen can obviously see the burial grounds need a lot of work to take it from it's present sad dry brown weedy broken & sparse headstones dirt lot into a new welcoming lush green garden for all the historic internments so that this lot becomes a beautiful eternal peaceful place for it's many honorable grave occupants. Some of the gravestones date from the late 1800s. This worthy historic cemetery needs more individual, community, club and governmental help. You would think that this California State Historic Landmark 753 - L.A. Historic Cultural Monument 586 would be important enough for the state and city concerns in it's better upkeep and assistance. But, SFVHS folks say that cemetery help is really needed in the following areas: landscaping/weed abatement, publicity, irrigation system, fund raising, general maintenance, and becoming SFVHS cemetery committee volunteers. After visiting inside the locked cemetery gate, caring citizens can recognize that watering, weed abatement and gopher eradication should become major concerns for saving the grounds. I walked those rough concrete paths (build by local scout troops) winding amid the remaining upright few unbroken grave monuments. I am interested in seeing the monuments to the deceased. I am one of those people that visit famous and infamous historic cemeteries to see and enjoy the headstone funerary artwork and learn the headstone's stories. SFVHS folks say this communities' shame has been that local vandals became a problem in the 60s & 70s when many private grave headstones were stolen, knocked down, or broken. Where are the local LAPD, city councilman or governmental agencies to correct this? Where are the other helpful service groups like the Scouts or Rotarians? The cemetery seems almost devoid of any gravestones, presently. A majority of tiny remaining gravestone monuments are mock 'partial' headstones. They are actually just rough granite gravestone bases without their faces that display the internment's personal family names. Things seem to be very bad at this cemetery. You can see that some families chose to protect their loved ones graves from vandals by erecting family grave border metal plot curbs. SFVHS folks say that before the cemetery was protected by a stonework and wrought iron fence by state cemetery law, vandals often drove vehicles into the cemetery for sport; knocking down, destroying and stealing the private property grave markers of the deceased. Does this Sylmar community care about this cemetery? On Memorial Day, once a year every grave monument gets an American flag. The unmarked unknown graves get nothing, a shame. And the Pioneer Cemetery is open on the 3rd Saturday of the month for visits. I fear that's NOT enough and the people interned there deserve more. This cemetery's story is a fascinating one. Can you help better this cemetery situation and contribute to its proper historical place in the San Fernando Valley's past. The historic Sylmar Pioneer Memorial Cemetery and San Fernando Valley Historical Society folks need your energy, ideas and help here. San Fernando Valley Historical Society LINK: