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MARYSVILLE — Along Highway 70 in Marysville, a historic cemetery is the final resting place of some of the most influential names from the gold rush.

But for now, the Marysville City Cemetery is closed.

Two weeks ago it was underwater.

“It’s probably the worst flooding we’ve seen in at least 10 years,” said Cemetery Commissioner Anna Hill.

Increased releases from the Oroville Dam spillway sent rushing water down the Feather River.

When that happened, Hill says a nearby slough flooded some grave sites.

“The water came in through the slough and somehow the earth shifted,” said Hill.

The shifting earth caused one monument from 1860 to topple over, others are tilting or losing their strong foundations.

The saturated soil has also created sinkholes above some caskets.

A member of the Donner Party and a co-founder of Macy’s are among the 10,000 people buried at the oldest city-run cemetery west of the Mississippi.

“They all have a story, and they all have a right to have their final resting spot be in good shape,” Hill said.

“The citizens of Marysville that are buried here are the voices no one hears, and it’s our job to protect them,” said Christopher Pedigo with Marysville City Cemetery.

Pedigo surveyed the damage with Hill Monday.

He promises to push for aid from the city, state or federal government.

“We’re going to work every angle to make sure we get as much money to preserve and protect this cemetery,” Pedigo said.

To Hill, preserving the cemetery means preserving history and the thousands of stories connected to those buried in Marysville.

“We want them to be remembered,” said Hill.

The cemetery is run by the city and they are accepting donations.

If anyone wants to donate to the Historic Marysville City Cemetery Headstone Restoration Fund they can send a donation to the address below. This account is maintained by the city. All monies in the Headstone Restoration Fund go directly toward the repair bills.

City of Marysville,
“Cemetery Headstone Restoration Fund”
c/o Jeri Schneider
P.O. Box 150
Marysville, CA 95901