My name is Kara Graper, and I currently head a grassroots volunteer ogranization called Oak Hill Preservation Project. Oak Hill is a 21 acre cemetery founded in 1885 in Hammond, Indiana. The City sits on the edge of the southern tip of Lake Michigan in a very diverse and urban area. We are known as an industrial area with our proximity to the Great Lakes. I like to think of the area as a second Ellis-Island of sorts as people from all around migrated here around the turn of the century to start a new life or to look for work. The settlers to our area include a diverse group of people from Hungary to Wales, Germany to Romania, Norway to Poland. Oak Hill cemetery is the final resting place for many of these early settlers, and there are a myriad of languages and customs on the markers and headstones, making it a true gem in our area for history.
Oak Hill was once a lush memorial garden, and a place where many were proud to choose as their final home. Today it sits abandoned by it’s private owner and the condition is deplorable. Our local Township Trustee is in the middle of legal battle to claim property rights. We are confident that the Township will be able to take over the cemetery, but the legal work takes some time.
In the meantime, Our Volunteer group has helped to organize several community clean-up dates at the cemetery to help pitch in where our families interred need it… We have cut down trees, mowed grass, weed wacked, picked up garbage, and cleaned and brushed stones.
Oak Hill in Hammond has over 14,000 interred, and thousands of descendants around the country that have asked how they could help get Oak Hill back to a respectable condition from where they are at.
One way they can help is to Donate any dollar amount using paypal to help us cover the expenses of new G.A.R. medallions and fresh flags for our 68 Civil War Veterans. We are working with the Calumet Regional Civil War Project to place 7 new Civil War Headstones at Oak Hill this summer and are also working on a proposed South Shore Civil War Trail Tour that would include many of our area cemeteries. Any help we can get to spruce things up and reset stones will hopefully also inspire others to come on out and help too!
Please click here to donate to the Oak Hill Preservation Project
Please join us on facebook at Oak Hill Restoration Project