As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to live in Tehachapi. The area has four cemeteries that I know of, and I’ve seen them all ~ Eastside Cemetery, Westside Cemetery, The Old Tehachapi Cemetery and the Fickert Family Cemetery. Eastside and Westside Cemeteries are very descriptive in title. One is on the east side of town and the other on the west side of town and is also known as “The Catholic Cemetery.” They still bury in both of them today. The Fickert Family cemetery is in a gated community and sits on private property. I did not visit it on my recent trip. I did, however, visit the The Old Tehachapi Cemetery, and this blog will cover that visit.
Entrance to the Old Tehachapi Cemetery 2008
As I pulled up at the Cemetery, something looked different and I couldn’t put my finger on it. . . until I got home and went through my photos from when we lived in the area, We moved 8 years ago, and I’m sure the next picture was taken at least 10 years ago. Notice the difference?
Today the cemtery sits in the middle of a neighborhood. The trees have grown, grass has been planted and there is now a sign with all known burials. There is even a covered swing to sit and relax in. The cemetery, it turns out, was an Eagle Scout project of a young man named Jonathan Anderson in 2000, and what a great job he has done! He has replaced headstones with wooden ones, outlined grave sites with rocks and generally cleaned up the cemetery. I was impressed. He was responsible for the sign and it tells the story.
Some of the more interesting burials are:
C. North died in 1877 during a gunfight in Greenwich. Greenwich is an old name for Tehachapi proper.
S. Alexander, a native of Prussia, died 16 Oct 1884 at the age of 58. The site is outlined with old utility pole crossarms and they protect the original headstone.
This headstone is impossible to read, but what impressed me is the fact that somebody probably had planted a tree years ago. The tree matured and protected the site and now has died and is a stump. The headstone outlived it’s protector. If you look at this stump, you can see how the wind howls up on this mountaintop! . . . and when it snows and howls at the same time, the wind chill factor is beyond belief! I know from experience!
The original, broken, headstone has been saved, and transcribed onto a new marker.
Not only do we know Mr. Goodwin’s name, date he died and the fact he was a father, but we know who killed him! . . . interesting
It appears the entire Hale family is buried together.
. . .and I picked this one for my final grave marker. I like the simplicity of it and the fact that it looks like something the old Pioneers would have marked a grave with.
Tehachapi is not the sleeply little mountain town we moved to many years ago, but a thriving mountain community today. If you ever get the chance to explore this town, you will see that it is truly an old Pioneer town and proud of it’s heritage.
There are a lot of little “secrets” like this cemetery in Anytown, USA. It is up to us to take a sidetrip to find them!
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