Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, Phoenix, Arizona
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            'The Vault' is a repository of information about past PCA news and events.

             The Pioneers' Cemetery Association celebrated the Irish with a 'Blarney Stone' Open House on February 25th.  As visitors entered the parlor of Smurthwaite House, they came upon a mock funeral scene and learned about some of Ireland's funeral/wake traditions.   Grave markers of Phoenix's early Irish settlers were highlighted in a cemetery 'treasure hunt'.  A caravan of hearses was on display on the Avenue of Flags, courtesy of members of the Kaos Funeral Cars Club.  See photos....

Valentines             On January 28th, 2017, an estimated thirty visitors, including several youngsters, created Victorian-style valentines at the PCA's monthly open house event. Visitors also enjoyed a cemetery 'treasure hunt' during which they looked for symbols of love and devotion on headstones throughout the cemeteries.

            The Smurthwaite House roof gets a makeover. During the first week of July 2016, workmen stripped off the old shingles and replaced them with period-appropriate cedar shakes which will eventually acquire the patina of age.  The project was funded by money from the Phoenix Parks & Preservation Initiative (PPPI) and the work was done by ForeSite Design & Construction, a company that specializes in historic preservation.

             Thanks to the work of several Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts and Adventurers, the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park has never looked better!  During the spring of 2016, these young men outlined paths with donated river rock to enhance the appearance of the cemeteries and make it easier for visitors to locate specific lots.

            Seventeen members of the Phoenix Firebird Chapter of the Questers visited Smurthwaite House on March 22nd, 2016.  PCA member Judy Smith gave a PowerPoint presentation about the House and the adjoining cemeteries, using the PCA's new projector and laptop.  Afterward, the Questers viewed 21 memorial markers purchased with generous donations from their organization and others.  The Questers' visit concluded with lunch and a business meeting on the front porch of historic Smurthwaite House.

            On January 7th, 2016, Wanda Holderby and Pat Morris of First Families of Arizona presented the Pioneers' Cemetery Association (PCA) with a $1,500 check to be used for the Gravestone Preservation Fund and the Memorial Marker Project. First Families is very interested in Arizona history and wants to participate in this worthwhile project that honors Arizona's pioneers.

             A grave holding the partial remains of fourteen early Phoenix residents was dedicated on 22 February 2014.  Dignitaries who spoke at the dedication included Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox; Dr. Todd Pitezel, curator of the Arizona State Museum; and Mark Hackbarth, archaeologist for Logan Simpson Design.  The program concluded with a solemn procession to the gravesite in City/Loosley Cemetery, led by reenactors in Victorian dress.

            At least 47 visitors dropped in during the PCA's Valentine's Day Open House on 25 January 2014 to make their own Victorian-style valentines and learn more about the symbols of undying love that grace many of the headstones in the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park.

            On 12 October 2013, the PCA hosted its second annual 'Dining Among the Dead' fundraising gala.   Guests, many in Victorian, Edwardian or Steampunk attire, enjoyed a catered dinner and cemetery walk at dusk.

          The Pioneers' Cemetery Association saluted the nation's veterans at its 30th annual Memorial Day observance on 27 May 2013.  Marshall Shore, Phoenix's HIPstorian, was the keynote speaker.  Among the organizations represented were the Buffalo Soldiers of the Arizona Territory, the Knights Templar and the Masons.        

          Cemeteries have their share of mysteries.  Read about ours!


Copyright 2017 Pioneers' Cemetery Association, Inc. Last revised 19 March 2017.