How many of you have heard of the Rolling Hills Cemetery in Prescott?  How many of you know where it’s at?  And how many of you know its story?  Not many, I suspect.
 The Rolling Hills Cemetery sits on both sides of Ruger Road just before you come to the intersection with Crystal Lane, one of the entrances to the airport.  It lies close to St. Luke’s Church.
 Rolling Hills has an interesting background.  It was started during the Depression by the well-known Ruffner family in Prescott, and was to be used primarily for burials of indigents and those who could not afford a plot in any of the city’s other cemeteries. 
While other cemeteries in the area were charging $50 to $150 for plots, those at Rolling Hills were only $5.  Burials began there in 1933 and continued until around 1955, and perhaps even a little later.  In the mid-50’s the City of Prescott brought the adjacent property for the Antelope Hills North Golf Course and the Rolling Hills Cemetery was included in that purchase.
 In doing some research, there are several hundred known names buried in Rolling Hills, but the belief is there may be as many as 150-200 lying in unmarked graves, many of whom may have been buried without coffins.  It’s also thought that there may be a mass gravesite that is also unmarked.  When Sheldon Street was widened in the 1950s some of those buried in the Citizen’s Cemetery were removed to Rolling Hills. 
Over the years a number of different groups have taken on the upkeep of Rolling Hills- members of St. Luke’s, Boy Scouts, other concerned citizens, some who have family members buried there.  But in recent years, the Cemetery has fallen on hard times, with little upkeep.  One of those things that sadly has fallen through the cracks.
During a recent visit with Joe Baynes, the City’s Parks and Recs Director, on an unrelated matter, The Rotary Club of Prescott-Frontier Community Service Director, Mike Payson, was asked if the Club might be interested in taking this on as a regular service project. After discussions with several key members of the Club the decision was made to move forward doing this on an annual or semi-annual basis.
Payson has walked through the Cemetery many times and was struck by a number of things.  Weeds had overtaken the entire cemetery.  Nearly all of the gravesites with metal markers had no information on them.  The only identifiable sites were those with cement or stone markers, and many of those had fallen over.  It was truly a sad site.
Rotary got busy!  On Saturday, March 19, 11 members of Frontier Rotary, 3 members and some friends representing Prescott Rotary, 5 members of Bradshaw Mountain High School Interact, and about a half-dozen concerned citizens, and along with some help from the City, got the main side of the Cemetery cleared.  All of those participating were left with sore arms from running the weed-whackers before the mowers could be brought in!
Payson has spent many hours researching this cemetery, and has spoken directly to many knowledgeable people on this subject, and, as yet, no plot map for the Cemetery seems to exist.  However, the search continues.  In an ideal world, if one could be found and gravesites could be identified, it would open the possibility to putting some type of permanent marker on them. 
While presenting to the organizations about the proposed clean-up, Payson asked how people would feel if their relatives were buried in this Cemetery in the condition it was in.  At the Saturday clean-up, there were two brothers and a wife whose aunt and uncle are buried in Rolling Hills, fortunately with permanent stone markers.  This was a very emotional experience for them, to see the Cemetery restored to the honor it deserves.
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