It is sometimes astonishing to think how the passage of time can change an area. Bustling cities can become crumbling ghost towns, and rural areas can turn into residential hotspots. A quiet corner, once deemed a peaceful spot for a family’s final resting place, can often be converted to far more commercial means, And that is why you can often find graveyards in the oddest places, such as parking lots.
In this town, southwest of Detroit, Michigan, a restaurant parking lot is also the home of nearly two-hundred year old cemetery called the Rumsey burial ground.
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First built in the 1830s, this cemetery remained in operation until at least 1925, going by the headstones. Though small, it contains memorials to town founders such as Moses Rumsey, who once owned all the property surrounding the cemetery, and David Smith, the town’s first assessor. It’s also the rating place of three Civil War veterans, including one man, a Private Gault, who died two days before the end of the Civil War.
For many years, the cemetery was located on private property, and was terribly neglected. Occasionally a scout troop or other volunteers would arrange a clean up, but it was not regularly kept up. Eventually, the property was sold, and a restaurant and parking lot built around the collection of headstones.
In the last few decades, the land was deed back to the township, and a wrought iron fence was built around the cemetery itself to help protect it from further destruction. Now, the town and historical society are working restoring some of the tombstones and finding the identities of all who have been laid to rest there.