Monday 8, Dec 2014

Memorial View Cemetery, a fascinating and scenic stop

memorial-view-cemeteryIf you are going to die -- and do we have a choice? -- there are worse places to spend eternity than Keystone's Memorial View Cemetery.

Perched on a hillside just south of town, the cemetery offers a great view of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. (In fact, back when Mount Rushmore used to put on an Independence Day fireworks show, local residents and savvy tourists gathered at the cemetery for one of the best, most uncrowded views of the show anywhere.)

Despite the name, the cemetery predates Mount Rushmore. In fact, there are more than 450 souls in the Keystone cemetery, according to findagrave.com. Records indicate burials going back as far as 1887.

Bobby Buntrock circa 1960sA walk through any cemetery is a fascinating look at the history of any region of the country, but that's especially true in the historic mining towns of the Black Hills such as Keystone. There's even a celebrity of sorts buried in Memorial View Cemetery: Bobby Buntrock. As a boy, he was Harold Baxter on "Hazel."You have to be of a certain age to remember the TV sitcom about a lovable maid that aired from 1961 to 1966. Bobby was just 21 when he was killed in an automobile accident on April 7, 1974. Just over a year earlier, his mother died on the same Keystone area bridge.

By the way, Memorial View Cemetery is easy to find. Just take U.S. Highway 16A through town, and turn left on Cemetery Road (duh).  But please, show some respect. This is not Mount Moriah. It's an active cemetery that still buries residents of the Keystone area. You're as likely to see a grieving family member as a herd of deer in this beautiful countryside setting.