Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Grave for a $1.25

What is now Prospect Park was originally the city cemetery. The cemetery, known as the East Side Cemetery, was founded in the early 1840's, and remained in use into the early 1890's. The Common Council of the Village of Ypsilanti, passed an ordinance on December 28, 1843, regulating the management of the cemetery.

Under the ordinance, new graves were to be dug by the sexton for $1.25, which included the superintendence of the burial. A person attempting a burial without notifying the sexton was fined $10, but for 50 cents, a person, with the permission of the sexton, could dig their own grave.

The graves were removed from the East Side Cenetery in the early 1890's, when the site was turned into Prospect Park. The bodies were removed to Highland, and corn was planted on the site for two years to prepare the soil. Well. the city said all of the bodies were removed, but there is a rumor that 14 of the bodies still are buried in Prospect Park.


At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Teaspout said...

What did the corn do?

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Teaspout,

The old cemetery fell into disuse after Highland opened in 1865, and the site became wild, and overgrown. The corn, I think, helped turn the soil into something that could be landscaped. John Laidlaw, the garderer of the Michigan Central Railroad, landscaped the park. for a few years he planted pictures in floweres in the park. Peole came from miles away to see the flower pictures. Some even came from Ann Arbor! The growing of corn was part of te process of preparing the soil to the new use, like crop rotation.


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