|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
This cemetery was converted to a park in the 1960's, and no headstones remain. There have been no interments in this cemetery since 1943.
Saint Mary's Cemetery on Poli Street in San Buenaventura is the resting place of 3000 Ventura County Pioneers. Their markers were removed by the City in 1964. Along with the names of the pioneers, the name of the cemetery was nearly forgotten. The future of Saint Mary's Cemetery is again at stake. The embarrassing mistake of 1964 was made, but now it is our opportunity to correct that wrong. We need to see that the mistake is not perpetuated.
On May 18, 2005, the Ventura Parks and Recreation Commission presented the results of its limited cemetery survey. The results of the response were positive but fell short because most of the stake holders were not solicited for comment and the survey questions were not directed at the true issue. After the commission survey presentation, the testimony by citizens painfully illustrated that there are three major groups trying to direct the future of Saint Mary's Cemetery. They include the descendents of Ventura pioneers-cemetery supporters; the new Ventura residents-park supporters; and the parks and recreation commission-non committal leaders.
The descendents of the pioneers, along with many other long time residents of Ventura County, want to restore the cemetery as much is reasonably possible. The descendents group want authentic recognition of the cemetery with respect and reverence for the 3000 burial sites. The descendents support remarking the gravesites along with a sensible historic memorial commemorating Ventura County pioneers. The second group are the new residents of Ventura-park supporters group. They would accept a discrete historic memorial wall at the "Park". They want a midtown park, where children can play, joggers can jog and their dogs can run. The new resident-park supporters desire that this space be for recreation, with minimal recognition that this is a cemetery. The Parks and Recreation Commission is collectively non committal and unwilling to forcefully recognize the historic significance of Saint Mary's Cemetery. They have been publicly unwilling to support the concept that this is an authentic cemetery, enhance and publicize its inherent strengths, or to promote those strengths. They need to realize and appreciate the historical, cultural and spiritual benefits to Ventura this special place has to offer. The Commission has been nearly silent.