On May 23, the Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage presented the 2005 Michigan Heritage Guardian Award to Gregg L. King of Canton, Michigan.
Mr. King serves the Charter Township of Canton Parks Division as Parks Technician.
In this capacity, he took on the challenge of caring for Canton Township’s historic cemeteries. In order to maintain the historic integrity of the sites, Mr. King slowly pieced together conservation methods by using information found in a variety of places, and then applied those techniques to Canton’s cemetery resources. As a result of his efforts he with the assistance of staff from the Michigan Historic Preservation Office created a concise and well- written book, which the Michigan Alliance applauds: Michigan Historic Cemeteries Preservation Guide.
This badly needed 210-page manual for the preservation of historic cemeteries is a well-structured publication which provides all who care for these honored places a guide to effective work with cemetery surveys and preservation work. Its three-level system provides guidance for assigning responsibility to personnel with varied training. The clarity or the language of the instruction is refreshing, and eliminates the frustration sometimes felt by both professional and volunteer workers. Its chapters are filled with essential subject matter—survey methodology, conservation methods, maintenance, to name a few—and are supported by wonderful appendices which fill the final 55 pages of the book.
The Guide was written by Mr. King with the assistance of Susan Kosky, Kathleen Glynn, and Gladys Saborio, and was supported by the Michigan Historic Preservation Office and the Charter Township of Canton.
In the introduction of The Guide Mr. King reminds us that “Historic cemeteries are important cultural architectural and archeological resources…as conscientious members of society it is our responsibility to care for these burial sites of our respected dead. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Show me your burial grounds and I’ll show you a measure of the civility of a community.’ Accepting this responsibility we help to preserve a resource that will benefit not only us but future generations.”
There are hundreds of historic cemeteries in the state of Michigan. However, until publication of this guide, anyone wishing to undertake conservation and preservation of these historic cemeteries had to search through numerous and often conflicting sources for information. There was no comprehensive source outlining sound conservation and preservation practices. With publication of this guide, endorsed by the State Historic Preservation Office, individuals and communities now have one reliable source.
The Alliance is pleased to honor Mr. King and this publication with the Michigan Heritage Guardian Award.