HARTFORD – The oldest historic site in the Capital City, The Ancient Burying Ground, has been vandalized leaving behind thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
The Ancient Burying Ground Association maintains the city property. It will have to shell out about $8,000 to remove graffiti off some graves.
“We found graffiti on almost a dozen stones,” Ancient Burying Ground Board Consultant Ruthie Brown said. “This has been very disheartening to us, we do have funds that we use continually to repair and to work on things, we do not have emergency funds to take care of something like this.”
The cemetery on Gold Street dates back to the 1600s and is where some founders of Hartford are buried. Currently, approximately 415 stones still stand there.
The vandalism is scaring some of the more prominent pieces such as the Founder’s Monument and the African-American Memorial. Brown said the damage appears to be done with a black permanent marker.
The destruction occurred in June and the association said Hartford Police have been involved.
“We contacted the police and they have identified the person they’ve talked to the person and we don’t know what’s taken place since then,” Ty Tryon VP of the Ancient Burial Ground Association said.
Tyron said the group believes a homeless man is responsible; however, they don’t believe his actions were malicious.
The group has brought in a translator to try to decode what he wrote on the stones.
“We believe it has some religious significance, something to do with the devil to visit the person who wrote these,” he said.
The focus for the group is keeping Connecticut’s history alive. Tyron and Brown both gave tours of the grounds during Envisonfest, Saturday.
“This is Hartford's oldest spot, it truly is,” Brown said. “Everything that has to do with Hartford and Hartford’s history and how it started is here, the root of everything we do, the root of every conversation.”
More recently, a piece of a monument and a bench have been stolen from the grounds.
The group now locks it up at night to try to avoid more damage. Brown said they may look into putting cameras in the area.
The group is hoping people will lend a helping hand and offer out financial help. You can reach out to the Ancient Burying Ground Association: 860-280-4145 or send a donation to ABGA at P.O. Box 347, Hartford, CT 06141-0347.
For those wishing to visit the gates will be open, Sunday Sept. 24th and Sunday Sept. 25th. There will be a representative of the ABG Association available from 1pm – 4pm.