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Summary and Statistics

Project Technology 

  • Call for volunteers via websites, emails, forums
  • Instant access to substantial research and information to prepare for each site visit
  • Site surveys available on  www.montgomerypreservation.org/historic-cemeteries/
  • GPS recorded from multiple mobile device applications, and verified by coordinator using MCAtlas
  • Located property owners online using MCAtlas
  • Accessed vintage aerial photos to compare site conditions over the past 70 years
  • Added each cemetery onto GoogleMaps for ease of finding and visiting

Database Extractions  

  • Inventory now identifies 324 cemeteries
  • 55 cemeteries added since 2004
  • 16 cemeteries identified as relocated, but 12 have completed surveys
  • 63 cemeteries identified as lost, but 22 have completed surveys
  • 12 cemeteries have been found that were formerly lost
  • 13 cemeteries are within park settings
  • 278 surveys were completed out of 324 cemeteries, accounting for 5 pending surveys currently being researched, 41 lost cemeteries not surveyed, and 7 relocated cemeteries not surveyed

 Statistics

  • More than 145,000 grave markers throughout 202 cemeteries in Montgomery County
  • Only 98 (30%) of 324 cemeteries are active (still burying)   
  • 44 (13%) cemeteries are considered in poor condition; the majority (40%) are good or excellent
  • 107 cemeteries are rural, 146 cemeteries are suburban, and 18 are urban
  • There are 86 African American cemeteries, plus 4 possible lost slave cemeteries on properties
  • 109 religious cemeteries, 26 community cemeteries, and 142 family cemeteries

 Specific Lists Available

Recommendations

The 2009 recommendations from the initial inventory project were far-reaching and on target. These included outreach to owners with information and technical advice, developing partnerships to achieve goals, keeping a Watch List of endangered cemeteries, creating an official cemetery register of significant burial grounds, and establishing a cemetery commission to advise the Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission, and County Council on matters involving cemeteries as well as to specifically address a variety of other relevant tasks.

The experience of the MCCI-R project confirms these 2009 recommendations. Today, each point remains valid and worthwhile.  New research and enhanced technology developed in the 2018 inventory and new burial sites laws on the books lead to the following specific recommendations:

1 – Continue to maintain cemetery files in multiple formats for public access

  • Post all survey forms on www.montgomerypreservation.org, with a link to this site on Montgomery Planning’s website
  • Montgomery Planning will update MCAtlas as needed
  • MCCI-R assigned each cemetery to FindaGrave so people can virtually visit the sites and view photos.
  • MCCI-R added each cemetery to GoogleMaps, with a quick-link on spreadsheet and webpages
  • Update MCHS library paper files with current information
  • Set next update deadline for current or new burial sites
  • Publish a Master Copy of the MCCI-R grant report and make available online

2 – Continued engagement by volunteers, advocates, and property owners

  • MCCI-R updates MPI and CPMBS websites; Montgomery Planning updates its website
  • Create and nurture a Montgomery County Cemetery Coalition
  • Maintain mococems@gmail.com as a contact point
  • Develop programs to educate public, property owners, public officials, neighborhoods
  • MCCI and Montgomery Planning both contact known owners of all burial sites
  • Send copy of inventory entry and other pertinent information to each owner
  • Maintain a list of needs and desires of owners and advocates (general and specific)
  • Encourage involvement in GPS surveys, clean-ups and maintenance, fund-raising, etc.
  • Nominate excellent individuals and projects to MPI for annual historic preservation awards
  • Identify specific grant programs, incentives that might benefit cemeteries
  • Schedule speakers, workshops, strategy sessions, get-togethers, Quarterly lunch and learn
  • Form key partnerships and networks with similar goals (DAR, history/preservation orgs)
  • Continue research, to maintain files and public access, to keep MCHS files updated; more information on almost every site is out there to be captured
  • Publicize information about current laws in place (County, State) and propose new ones
  • Maintain lists of selected resources, guidelines, and preservation strategies
  • Provide additional resources, e.g., “Where to Look for Cemetery Information” (2018)
  • Article about cemeteries and project in Montgomery Magazine (agreed by author and editor)
  • Montgomery Planning is encouraged to support, take part, and help with these activities

3 – Appoint a Cemetery Advisory Board

This group of citizens, representing relevant entities and professions, would serve as the public arm to advise the Planning Board, Historic Preservation Commission, and County Council on matters involving cemeteries as well as to specifically address a variety of other relevant tasks. Howard County has employed such a group since 1993 to “foster the protection and preservation of cemeteries and burial grounds and to assist in the review of plans for and providing advice on developments that may impact cemeteries and burial grounds, review evidence of cemeteries discovered during construction, and to review and update the cemetery inventory list.”  In 2014, Caroline County created a Burial Sites Preservation Board. Advantages and disadvantages of this must be addressed.

4 – Evaluate cemeteries for designation on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation

  • Analysis by authors of the original MCCI project showed that cemeteries designated historic are generally in better condition than those that are not. Of cemeteries individually designated on the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation or associated with larger designated properties (such as churches or farms), the ratio of cemeteries in excellent and good condition increased with official recognition.  In short, designation favors preservation and survival.
  • All parties take advantage of focused study of this specific resource group to identify, evaluate, and nominate historic cemeteries to the Master Plan.
  • Designation provides status, eligibility for financial incentives to owners for improvement and restoration, special attention in planning for future effects on resource and enforcement of HP laws.
  • Provide information to municipalities on benefits of local historic designation

5 – Maintain lists of cemetery groupings

  • Watch List of most at-risk sites (of damage or loss from neglect, erosion, vandalism, development)
  • Sites most likely to benefit from GPS survey, photogrammetric mapping
  • Sites to nominate for designation on MoCo Master Plan for Historic Preservation (TBD)
  • Sites available for clean-up and improvements by scouts, neighbors, community service projects (TBD)
  • African American cemeteries (noting those Snowden Funeral records might help)
  • 4 sites to revisit in winter-time environment
  • Lost cemeteries or sites where more research is needed
  • Cemeteries to be included in upcoming Planning activities (Master Plans, transportation, etc)
  • Burial sites owned by public agencies at local, State, Federal levels (parks, trails, other uses)
  • Cemeteries within the Montgomery County Heritage area
  • Native American/prehistoric site info, kept by MHT and M-NCPPC archaeologists, is not included in this survey, but to keep the lists comprehensive their existence should be noted

6 – Protective Montgomery County and Maryland legislation and practices in place or needed

  • In place:
    • MD code Tax – Property Article, section 2-213 enables county to add site to County tax map
    • CR Real Property Article 14-122 allows County to help maintain, repair, preserve cemeteries
    • CR Tax – Property Art. 9-261 authorizes County to grant property tax credit on cemetery improvement
    • 2 new Montgomery County laws effective 2018: establish inventory and subdivision regulation
    • MHT consultation on 50+ year-old burial sites (improve process to coordinate)
  • Needed:
    • Record all burial sites on plats, deeds, and County tax maps
    • Easements for and access to burial sites required in subdivisions
    • Enforcement to include building permits level

Next Steps

1 – MCCI-R project follow-up
*After consultation, MCCI-R project files transferred/available to Montgomery Planning staff

  • MCCI-R updates MPI and CPMBS websites
  • MPI posts links to surveys onto montgomerypreservation.org/historic-cemeteries/
  • Schedule event for volunteers: thank you/recognition, next steps
  • Presentation at Montgomery County History Conference on January 26, 2019
  • Return/revisit certain flagged cemeteries during winter 2018-2019 and add data, photos
  • Ask whether MCHS library wants large three-ring binders, or expanded file folders for public access in Rockville, or whether it will access survey information on line as needed
  • A published copy and online master copy of MCCI-R 2018 surveys should be available
  • Talk to Snowden Funeral Home regarding grant application to digitize records; apply for MD AAHC grant, perhaps Heritage Montgomery mini-grant NOW to plan and prepare for digitization
  • Participate in the process for I-495/I-270 managed lanes study currently underway

2 – Planning staff and HP intern follow-up, continuation

  • For each burial site:
    • Confirm ownership name/address/contact info for each burial site
    • Check/confirm status and reference numbers (MPHP, NRHP, Locational Atlas)
    • Add relevant MP, NR, Atlas, and municipal designation info
    • Add to County tax maps/MCAtlas/GIS layer
  • Maintain all information, redacting selected portions for public access
    *Montgomery Planning meets with its Communications Team to determine space, how much can be presented, ability to host digital files
  • Continue to build relationships with DPS to facilitate enforcement
  • Participate in the process for I-495/I-270 managed lanes study currently underway
  • Meet with State’s Attorney regarding the process, documentation, frequency for approving relocation of graves
  • Enforcement of current Montgomery County and State laws
  • At event for volunteers: thank you/recognition, next steps, introduce Planning Board guidelines
  • Montgomery Planning selects review team for draft guidelines
  • Advertise timeline for Planning Board guidelines outline/drafts for public review/adoption by the Planning Board
  • Presentations to HPC, Planning staff, Planning Board, County Council PHED Committee, Co Exec

3 – Planning Board

  • Schedules MCCI-R presentation
  • Planning Board reviews staff draft and sets timing for decisions [February–April 2019]
  • Includes funding for Montgomery Parks maintenance, improvements at its cemeteries
  • Set a low bar to add a site to the inventory; protect cemeteries not on MCCI-R
  • Set standard that known and unknown sites must be considered in developments
  • Archaeologist is permanent full-time position at Montgomery Planning
  • Planning Board adopts inventory and cemetery protection guidelines

List of cemeteries by NAME    |    List of cemeteries by ID NUMBER    |   List of cemeteries by VICINITY

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