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About Cemetery Memorial Park

In 1862 citizens of Ventura recognizing the need for a cemetery create the town's first city cemetery. The largest portion of the cemetery is reserved for catholics with three small sections for protestants; jews; and chinese, indians, and other races. In 1944 the cemetery becomes full, but within five years there are already plans to develop the land. A hedge is built around the perimeter to hide the cemetery, which is in a state of disrepair. The park is frequently vandalized (partially, I assume, because while the hedge hides the decaying cemetery, it also hides the vandals.) In 1963 a plan was adopted, despite protest, to turn the cemetery into a city park. Supposedly, letters were sent to any decedents of people buried in the cemetery informing them of the decision. The tombstones were removed in 1964 and put into storage for family members to pick up if desired. Many relatives claim they were not informed of the decision to remove the headstones. Those buried in crypts and mausoleums are buried below ground. In 1965 the land officially became a city park. Familes who had requested it can have a bronze plaque placed on the site of their ancestors grave. In 1972 unclaimed tombstones are ground up and used in a levee. (We also heard that they were thrown into a canyon)

Ghost Stories

It is said that a teenager hung himself froma tree in the park, and his swinging body can still sometimes be seen in the tree. There are also reports of cold spots and a malicious presence.

Our Review

We both felt that the actions of the city towards this cemetery now park are deplorable. The lack of any marker identifying the park's history, the location of the graves, or even the park's name is inconceivable. We would urge the city leaders of Ventura to rectify any of these deficeincies as soon as possible. While we were visiting the site people were walking their dogs though the park, and we all know what dogs do on grass.

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