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Vandals hit Grand Rapids’ Oakhill cemetery

Posted at 9:07 PM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 22:23:22-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's supposed to be a place for peace and reflection, instead it's now marked with vandalism.

Vandals hit the historic Oakhill cemetery on the city's southeast side, leaving at least two mausoleums scarred with various spray painted markings.

It's unclear when the vandalism took place, but FOX 17 learned about it after viewers began posting pictures of it online.

“This is the kind of thing that should incense every citizen, that there are people who think it’s okay for them to do something like that," said local author and historian Thomas Dilley.

Dilley even penned a new book last September entitled "The Art of Memory" which documents the city's historical cemeteries, pointing out the vandals chose a site steeped in Grand Rapids history.

“Walking through here, you’ll find names that are on streets, on buildings, manufacturing warehouses," he said.

The damaged mausoleums include a more than century-old granite monument belonging to the family of Melvin J. Clark, a prominent early 19th century grocer whose former building still stands downtown on the corner of Weston and Ionia . The other is a pyramid-shaped monument belonging to the family of Marcus Brown that was built by his wife after his death in the 1890s, according to Dilley.

Grand Rapids Police told FOX 17 Tuesday evening they had not been made aware of the vandalism and weren't actively investigating yet.

FOX 17 was unable to reach a representative in the city's parks and recreation department Tuesday evening after business hours.

Dilley said while the graffiti is discouraging to see, he's confident the city will act quickly to clean it up.

“Look at this building, it’s granite… you think a spray paint can is going to undo that," he said.

"The building has been sitting here more than 100 years, it’s going to take more than the punk who did that to undo a tradition like that.”