Information Management System implemented for Highland Cemetery


Highland Cemetery, which sits within Sparta’s city limits on a hill just outside of the center of the town, has been in use since 1908. The Highland Cemetery Trust Corporation’s board of directors has announced a project to preserve the history of one of Sparta’s largest cemeteries.

“Recently, we’ve developed a modernization project to computerize our records and provide a cemetery website for the public’s benefit,” William D. Mitchell explained. “This will revolutionize our management of the cemetery performed solely by volunteers.”

The website will be a key component, along with the Cemetery Information Management System (CIMS) in preserving, organizing, and maintaining the historical records of Highland Cemetery that have accumulated over the past 116 years.  According to the Board of the Highland Cemetery Trust Corporation, recordkeeping in the past was performed by volunteers and resulted in inconsistencies and, at times, missing data.

In time, Sparta attorney John Knowles, whose office was being used to store the records, realized something more was needed if the records were to be preserved. Knowles met with Royce and Jonathan Smith who had begun mapping and digitizing the records of the Elrod Cemetery near Burgess Falls. Ultimately the Highland Cemetery board hired the Smiths to use the CIMS to preserve the records of the Highland Cemetery, including mapping the cemetery and creating new maps to be used for managing the property.

Additional projects the Highland Cemetery Trust Corporation is undertaking include a landscape master plan, a lighted flagpole surrounded by a landscaped area, and tree improvements which are needed after storms damaged a significant number of the trees that provided a serene environment for families visiting the cemetery,

“Naturally, we would hope to inspire donations for these additional improvements,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have received financial help from various individuals to institute this ambitious program and hope to continue the positive direction with the support of the community.”

With many White County families having personal connections to the cemetery, and Highland having such a rich history, the hope is that the public will become aware of all of the improvements, utilize the website to access records, and plan visits.

Mitchell concluded, “The eventual restoration of the cemetery through this project will ensure that this historic landmark will be preserved for many years to come in an aesthetic, organized and dignified manner.”


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