Create a Marker Identifying the Marin County Poor Farm Graveyard

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To County Supervisor Damon Connolly,

Within your District lay the remains of the Marin County Poor Farm, a site that contains over 280 unmarked graves. The site has remained largely neglected and unacknowledged for over a century, despite its rich historical connections to the community. The graveyard’s backstory is diverse and tragic; many people from various parts of Marin County were laid to rest there as a result of an inability to afford a proper burial. There is currently nothing in place to indicate that there is a gravesite in the area, with the exception of a series of numbered bronze tiles. Many of these tiles have been missing, vandalized, covered in soil, or damaged, and are barely visible in the grassland in which it occupies.

We strongly implore you to consider supporting a small effort to identify the Marin County Poor Farm gravesite, in which the patch of land would be simply marked with an information placard as, indeed, a gravesite. This would allow for better acknowledgement of the Poor Farm’s history without becoming an invasive or extensively drawn-out restoration project. The graveyard currently falls under the jurisdiction of the MCOSD, which is somewhat hesitant to take restorative action with the site because of two obstacles:

1. The site exists within an open space easement, which calls for preservation "in its natural, scenic, and open space condition.”

2. About 15 years earlier, a similar restoration project was started to identify the graves at the Poor Farm site, and was opposed by certain members of the community.

Firstly, the addition could hardly be invasive to the eye, let alone the ecosystem in which it would inhabit. There are already several signs, “doggy bag” dispensers, and waste bins located on site. One more sign or marker does not require any land to be fenced off, grass to be trimmed, or trees to be cut down. Secondly, the restoration effort 15 years ago had far more extensive plans for the site, including tombstones and cyclone fencing. This would have required quite a bit more funding and effort than a simple informative marker.

Additionally, the community has changed in the last 15 years. It is at the very least worth proposing this new, straightforward concept instead of dismissing it based off the residential consensus circa 2003. The parameters for this restoration effort are far less lengthy. There would likely be little, if any, protest regarding the uncomplicated installation of a marker or sign.

People change. Circumstances change. There has been a consistent outpour of support for this concept by members of Lucas Valley and Marinwood, in strong contrast to the attitudes expressed in the early 2000’s. Attention is once again being directed toward the Poor Farm, and it is time to take action against the continued neglect of its place in history.

Please, help us remember and acknowledge the people of the Marin County Poor Farm graveyard.