by Anna Giles

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Decades of history was wiped out at one of Sacramento’s oldest cemeteries.

Vandals knocked over headstones that are more than a century old and defaced one headstone with ink at the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. Many are saying the most hurtful thing about all this is the significance behind the plot where the damage happened.

“It’s really disturbing that people would do that, especially here,” said Kevin Clem.

Clem and his wife have generations of family at the cemetery. City officials said the damage could cost up to $8,000 to repair.


“This is meant to be a place to remember people, and it’s such a peaceful place, I love coming here,” Clem said.

Some of the headstones have been left lying on the ground. Cemetery staff said it’s because they are so old, if they try to lift them up they could break apart.

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Some wonder if the vandals knew they were defacing a plot dedicated to Sacramento’s volunteer firefighters.

“Some of those firefighters in there are plots that date back to the middle and late 1800s,” said Chris Harvey, a Sacramento firefighter and paramedic.

Harvey knows a lot about the history of this plot and the special incentive it provided to volunteer firefighters in the mid-1800s.

“It was actually part of your employment agreement when you were a firefighter in Sacramento in the early days, was that you had a plot for yourself and your family members to be buried,” he said.

The area was restored by former firefighter George King in the 1980s and ‘90s after being left to rot away for years.

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“It only takes a few moments for somebody to be disrespectful and undo the hard work of somebody who spent so much time trying to bring this plot back to its former glory. So it’s pretty upsetting,” Harvey said.

Cemetery staff is working with police to try and track down the people responsible for this.

“I don’t understand what people are thinking or what would motivate them to do such a thing,” said Suzanne Sanes, who walks through the cemetery almost every day.

The cemetery is also collecting donations to help repair the damage. Checks and cash can be mailed or dropped off at the main gate drop box.


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