By Anna Jauhola
The Greenwood Cemetery Association is again looking to move graves due to sloughing along the Two Rivers.
Two graves on the cemetery’s northern edge rest alongside the river and were buried in the mid-1950s. It’s clear the graves are slowly slipping toward the river bank as one headstone sits lower than the other and both sit at angles.
This isn’t the first time the association has had to move graves. In 2006 and 2007, its worked with the city of Hallock and MnDNR on moving at least a dozen to 20 or more graves, according to archives, as well as stabilizing the river bank.
Sharlene Klegstad, who is an association board member, said moving graves is more complicated than one would think.
“It’s just like burying someone. You have to hire a company to remove the casket,” she said. “Then because of where those graves are, you might have to have a special excavator because it might be in a place where it’s hard to get at.”
While this project is in its infancy, the association feels a sense of urgency, especially as the river continues to have periods of high water and regular flooding. These graves will be moved within the cemetery itself.
The association has tried to find relatives of the deceased, but to no avail, Klegstad said. They are not required to find relatives in order to move the graves, however. But the new locations will be listed on the cemetery directory.
The approximate cost of moving graves 15 years ago was about $1,000 per grave. The price could be about $3,000 now, but they have not received a solid estimate yet.
The cemetery association has the money to move the graves, which has come in the form of donations and memorials, as well as plot sales. Klegstad said there may be FEMA money available to help pay for the project as well because it directly relates to flood damage.
The cemetery association operates solely on donations, which not only go toward moving graves when necessary but mainly for upkeep of the cemetery.
“We’re not out there seeking donations, but we have done that in the past,” Klegstad said. “There have also been some endowments and people gave their estates to the cemetery association.”
The project does not end with these two graves as there are others in danger of sloughing off into the river in the coming years. But these two are the most immediate concerns, Klegstad said.
Anyone who would like to help ensure the future upkeep of the cemetery can send donations to: P.O. Box 43, Hallock, Minn. 56728.
By Anna Jauhola