Deadwood’s famed Mount Moriah Cemetery has long been valued by the town’s residents as a community treasure. But city officials had no idea how strongly people felt about Deadwood’s lesser-known historic burial ground – Saint Ambrose’s Cemetery – until they announced restoration plans in the last edition of the HistoryLink newsletter.
“Since the last newsletter went out, all we’ve gotten are positive responses,” said Tammy Jo McGuckin, administrative assistant for the Deadwood Department of Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation. “We had one phone call from a resident who has family up at Saint Ambrose’s and really wanted to thank us for the restoration plans. She was very, very grateful.”
“Then we received a second phone call from a gentleman who didn’t give his name or where he was from,” McGuckin continued. “He was crying so hard he could barely talk. He said that he had a family member that was buried up there, and he was so grateful that Deadwood was going to restore that cemetery. It was a very emotional conversation.”
But, McGuckin said, the signs of appreciation didn’t stop there. She explained that the office also had received a note – and a check for $10 – from a man in Arizona who wished to express his support for the Saint Ambrose’s project.
“It was just a real short note,” McGuckin said, “but it was very nice.”
After offering “congratulations and commendations!,” the author explains that even though donations weren’t requested, he wanted “to give the enclosed $10 as a token of my thoughts and feelings for the restoration of Saint Ambrose’s Cemetery.”
“It was a really great experience to hear from them,” McGuckin said. “It was nice to talk to them and know that we’re really helping these people and making them happy with this project.”