The use of land trusts to preserve abandoned graveyards in the American Southeast
Smith, Jason Oliver
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This thesis observes the neglected condition of abandoned, historic graveyards in the American southeast, and the danger they face of being annihilated by development and the forces of nature. It asserts the value of these graveyards to society and the need for their preservation. The legal circumstances of graveyards as real estate are examined, both in general and specifically to Georgia. In addition to discussing issues of ownership and the right to intervene by preservationists, the thesis treats the subject of responsible custodianship, once the right of custodianship has been secured. Namely, the custodial responsibilities of graveyard documentation and conservation are covered. Finally, the thesis proposes the use of private, nonprofit land trusts as an organizational model for graveyard preservation– an approach that has apparently not been utilized. Appended to the thesis are Georgia's cemetery laws and a Greenville County, South Carolina cemetery survey conducted by the author during research.