Nearly four acres of Calaveras County-owned land set aside for oak tree preservation will also protect a historic cemetery where hundreds of miners were buried more than a century ago.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to preserve the 3.75 acres, near the county’s Government Center in San Andreas, to compensate for the removal of oak trees to build the new Calaveras County Criminal Justice Center.
Part of that land includes a “historic paupers cemetery” in which 400 to 600 people were buried, said county planner Debra Lewis.
“The cemetery itself is very poorly protected,” she told the board.
Construction of the new $58 million Sheriff’s Office and Calaveras County Jail “impacted” — either cut down or infringed upon — 92 oak trees with at least a 24-inch diameter on about 20 acres.
The land set aside will protect oak trees as well as the historic cemetery from future development.
“One would hope you wouldn’t dig at a cemetery,” Lewis said after the meeting. “There’s no guarantee that won’t happen, particularly when it gets forgotten.”
A stone sign near the cemetery, dedicated in 2007, can be found past the Calaveras County Library on Gold Hunter Road.
“In this cemetery lie the remains of nearly 600 Calaveras pioneers,” the sign states. “All died in the once adjacent county hospital and were interred here between 1890 and the 1910s.”
Most of those buried at the Calaveras County Hospital Cemetery were older, single men who “lacked the means to be buried in a church or town cemetery,” the sign states.
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