- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) - A $2 million project to restore a historic Deadwood cemetery is entering its final phases.

The project to clean up and restore the historic St. Ambrose Cemetery is entering its fifth phase, and the sixth and final leg will begin next year, Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker told the Black Hills Pioneer (http://bit.ly/1IW3PMl ).

Crews are working now to restore the cemetery’s plots, walls, monuments and fencing. Previous phases removed trees that had damaged grave sites and added new sidewalks.

The cemetery dates back to 1878 and was consecrated by the Catholic Church in 1881. It was given to Deadwood in 2003.

Many early pioneers are interred there, but Kuchenbecker said other cemeteries are more well-known, such as the famous Mt. Moriah, which holds Deadwood legends including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

“While it doesn’t have the legends of Mount Moriah, it is equally of importance to Deadwood,” he said.

Deadwood completed a $3.4 million restoration of Mt. Moriah in 2005.

The monuments in the cemetery display important genealogical information as well as the socioeconomic, ethnic, religious and artistic influences of the times, Kuchenbecker said.

“These cemeteries provide invaluable insight into Deadwood’s development from gold mining into a Victorian Era city,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com

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