Gardeners and graves

The Rockford Garden Club is taking an active advisory role on the renovation of Rockford’s Pioneer Cemetery by the Rockford Lions Club. Pictured (l–r) are Garden Club members Tom Healy, Club President Kathy Healy, Dave Hoovler, and master gardener Nancy Hoovler.

On Friday evening, Aug. 19, Rockford Garden Club President Kathy Healy and members master gardener Nancy Hoovler, Dave Hoovler and Tom Healy assessed the progress of the Rockford Lions Club renovation of the old Pioneer Cemetery next to North Rockford Middle School on Division.

To assure a proper landscaping of this historical site, the Garden Club graciously accepted the Lions’ request for their expertise in converting an eyesore into a treasure. Perfectly, the result would be the cemetery as it was originally. Unfortunately, there are missing records, pictures and memories. Comments of longtime Rockford residents Helen Hessler, Bob Gunnell and Lois Gunnell confirm that even in their childhood it was a neglected place with broken and scattered gravestones.

Photos or illustrations of the cemetery in its original condition would be of great help in its restoration. Please dig out your old family albums, find great-grandpa’s gravesite and help us restore this treasure to its original beauty.

The Rockford Lions have presently opened up a pleasant wooded hillside and valley. Taking this, the Garden Club is marking trees to keep or cut, identifying invasive species to remove, assuring the present carpet of myrtle is protected and developing a site plan that enhances the cemetery’s natural beauty. In the meantime, cutting continues, and free firewood is stacked in the west parking lot. Bring your own saw and join us between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

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