A land donation by a local farmer is the first addition in 52 years for a local cemetery. The “Gamble” addition adds options for local internment and makes a perfect square of the previously patch-worked Fairview, platted in 1886.
“We’ve been trying to buy that land for a long time,” said cemetery board president Clair Banta. “We almost had it bought a few years ago, but that didn’t happen. We kind of forgot about it.”
Until last week Fairview was shaped like a dogleg, missing a large section of land on its southwest corner. The land was privately owned and the cemetery board was never able to purchase it, though it had come close a few years ago.
Earlier in 2012 the board began replacing the fence along the west side of the cemetery. Some sections were wooden stakes, and would be replaced by modern fencing.
“We started to put that new fence in and Ki Gamble came to us and said ‘hey I’ve been wanting to give that to the cemetery,’” said Banta. “At first I thought he wanted us to buy it. Of course we didn’t have the money. It’s quite a nice gift.”
Gamble had recently purchased the pasture next to the cemetery and donated slightly more than an acre of land to the cemetery.
The board purchased another small section of land along Pennsylvania Ave. from a private landowner which reshaped the western portion of the land to a square.
The new section, which will be named the “Gamble” addition, is the first since the early 1960s when the cemetery purchased the “South” addition from the Mingonbach family.
That purchase added all of the southern-most land between the large stone entryway and Pennsylvania Ave.
“We were fortunate that Ki and Kim gave a gift of about one acre to the cemetery,” said Banta, who voted along with the other board members in naming the new addition after the family who donated it.
“That is not why we do these things, but I’m overwhelmed by it,” said Gamble on Tuesday. “It’s a tribute and it was very nice of them to do that for our family.”
Gamble has generations of relatives buried in the cemetery including his great grandparents Mose and May Gamble, the homesteaders who built the house Gamble still lives in, located less than a mile north of Fairview. Early Gambles were bankers, and at one time, owned a grain elevator. The Lenager family, relatives who were also laid to rest in Fairview, were early Greensburg business owners and owned a millinery (a hat shop) on Main Street.
Page 2 of 2 - “I don’t want this to sound arrogant, because I don’t mean it that way, but in our world that land just isn’t that much,” said Gamble, who operates one of the larger farms in Kiowa County. “We didn’t need to charge them for it and we could afford to give it away. Most people around here know that we try to do what we can for the community.”
The southern most section will be reserved for flat stones and the north section of the Gamble addition will be reserved for upright stones.
Banta, the current president and a 30-plus year member of the board, said they were not running out of space, but that the addition will provide more options for internment.
Sexton Rex Butler has been clearing debris from the land, which has been relatively unkempt since the May 2007 tornado.
Banta expects the entire process to take a couple of years before the ground is ready.
“It’s a beautiful section and we’ve already had some people asking about it, “he added. “As we clean up the ground and get it set up, eventually we’ll have lots for sale.”