|The Phoenix Gazette — Wednesday,
11, 1984 — page C-6
Russian graves halt construction on road projectBy Lori Baker, Gazette Northwest Bureau — Corrections in RED
the city to delay work on widening a portion of Maryland
Avenue east of
Community Development Administrator Bob Spaulding said the city was unaware that the graves existed until he was contacted Thursday by members of the Church of the Spiritual Molokans of Arizona.
The Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans, descendants of Russian Spiritual Christian immigrants, own a small cemetery [1 acre] on the northeast corner of 75th and Maryland avenues, across the street from Independence High School. There are 98 marked graves and about 65 unmarked graves, Dave Tolmachoff, spokesman for the congregation church, said.
At least two unmarked graves are eight to 10 feet inside the city's 33-foot right-of-way, he added. It is not known if others are within the right-of-way.
The Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans were unaware that Maryland Avenue would be widened until a developer moved the cemetery's fence back eight feet last week.
Dunlap and Magee Inc., the developer of a 361-lot single-family subdivision near the cemetery, is required by the city to widen a quarter mile of Maryland Avenue east of 75th Avenue into a standard two-lane street and install curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The street ["Pancho's Lane"] currently is an oil-caked access road to farm land. Work a safe distance from the cemetery will continue.
The unmarked graves supposedly are along Maryland Avenue within 250 feet of 75th Avenue, Spaulding said. [The cemetery dimensions are 250 feet deep from 75th Ave and 200 feet wide.]
Spaulding said the city would realign the street after the church says where the graves are.
Tolmachoff-Long The Molokans have hired
an attorney [Mr.
Yarnell] to work with the city regarding the
"We don't disapprove of progress but we don't want to disturb our heritage," Tolmachoff said.
"There was a flu epidemic in 1918 and many children died. During World War I, there was a depression and families moved to California and left the children behind," he said.
He said the cemetery has been used continually since 1912 by a group of Russian families who had immigrated to an area west of Glendale. They were mainly cotton farmers and grew sugar beets, vegetables, wheat, and many had dairies.
"The graves originally were, marked with cedar but some stakes rotted and others were burned in a field fire several years ago. The first big fire was in the 1930s, with about one a decade afterward because few cut the weeds.
Tolmachoff said he has been unable locate records about where the graves are but some of the elders of the church can remember at least two graves in the city's right of way. No records exist.
According to the deed of trust for the church's cemetery, a 33-foot right-of-way, originally owned by Vasili Serg. Tolmachoff to access his field, was designated for Maryland Avenue. The property was in Maricopa County when it was established as a cemetery, and Glendale continued the right-of-way designation after it was annexed into the city, City Attorney Nick Dotterman said.
According to sparse
Glendale historical society records, the Dukh-i-zhizniki
who do not believe in bearing arms.
During World War I, 35 Russian youths who live in the Glendale area refused to register for the draft and were sentenced to 10 months in jail. Members of the 4 congregations church protested the ruling and 28 Russians people were arrested for inciting a riot.