Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association
A spray painted grave marker at the Marshall family cemetery in Burke, Virginia spurred two county history commissioners and community members into action. In June 2008, a group organized to protect the cemetery. During the summer, a clean up was organized. Trees were cut; brush and trash were removed. Broken glass from beer bottles was painstakingly picked up. A thick layer of dirt and algae on the marker was removed with soft tooth brushes and distilled water. The spray paint will remain until a professional conservator removes it. In October 2008, a dedication ceremony was held at the cemetery. Subsequently, the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association, Inc. was founded to protect the hundreds of other family cemeteries in the county.
FCCPA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)organization incorporated with the state of Virginia.
Our purpose is to identify, document, preserve, protect, maintain and advocate for cemeteries in our county that are threatened by development, vandalism or neglect.
Also, the association will educate the community about the historical importance of cemeteries and how to survey and preserve cemeteries.
How does the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association protect and preserve cemeteries?
- Research cemeteries
- Conduct on-site surveys at cemeteries
- Report cemetery vandalism to authorities
- Update county and library information on cemeteries
- Seek and advise organizations or individuals who want to “adopt” a cemetery
- Connect individuals who have concerns or questions about cemeteries with the appropriate county employees
- Reply to individual’s inquiries about family cemeteries
- Educate the community about the Virginia statutes regarding cemeteries
- Educate the community about the preservation of cemeteries and markers
- Educate the community about the historical importance of cemeteries
Some words of caution about being in and around cemeteries and gravestones:
REMEMBER that cemeteries and gravestones are property and belong to someone. Prior to any physical action around graves and gravestones (such as cleanings, rubbings, physical movement of the gravestones, etc.), ask for permission from the responsible party exercising authority over the cemetery or grave(s), such as the cemetery or graveyard superintendent, property owner or direct descendant of the deceased. If the owner, et al, is unknown or cannot be contacted, this does not grant de facto permission to proceed without that permission. We strongly advise seeking permission well in advance. Without permission, we recommend you do not proceed. Respect local or state laws about cemeteries being off limits during certain hours, usually after dark. And always be respectful to the deceased.