Gulf Cemetery gets historic designation

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 02:34 PM.

He and the other board members have spent the past five years filing forms with the state and piecing all information together that they could find about the cemetery in a quest to garner the coveted status.

Copies of hand-written minutes of board meetings held in 1913, the patent signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, and ground and aerial photos of the cemetery's 40 acres were collected. They discovered that of all the patentees east of the Mississippi, Gulf Cemetery and Alango Cemetery in St. Louis County, Minn., are the only two still in operation.

They found that in the past century, while managed by all-volunteer help, the cemetery was sold in error three times for delinquent taxes, records were destroyed by fire, and the property was recently threatened by private developers.

On Oct. 22 the Freezes got up at 3 a.m. to prepare for the drive to Tallahassee and their 9 a.m. meeting with the Florida Historical Marker Council. After reviewing the material, the council voted to designate The Gulf Cemetery Association Inc. as a State of Florida Historic Site.

"This is very prestigious," said Freeze. "The normal length of time to get this designation is never. It is almost impossible to get. Very few get it. It took a lot of work as there are only so many historic sites in the state of Florida. Perseverance was the key."

However, Freeze said it is well worth the effort.

"It pays tribute to the volunteers who have taken care of the cemetery through the years and it shows we have not forgotten our veteran heroes, as well as all our loved ones who are at rest in the cemetery. This is an accomplishment of which the community can be proud of well into the future,” he said.

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