On June 10, Bellefontaine Cemetery and its Board of Trustees dedicated the Kit Bond Chestnut Grove. This Grove celebrates Kit Bond, whose persona is a well-educated, worldly man with his feet planted firmly in Missouri soil. Although Kit served in both Washington, D.C. as Senator and Jefferson City as Governor of Missouri, the man celebrated on June 10 was noted for his deep roots and a heart firmly planted in the farmland of Mexico, Missouri.
In 1992, the former U.S. Senator started the first commercial Chinese Chestnut orchards at his farm in Mexico, Missouri. Working with Dr. Gene Garrett, who headed up the Agroforestry Department at the University of Missouri, and Wayne Lovelace, the head of Forrest Keeling Nurseries, Bond helped spur the growth of the chestnut industry for Missouri farmers. Bellefontaine Cemetery felt it would be fitting to establish a chestnut grove as part of the Arboretum collection to recognize Kit’s contribution to Missouri, Missouri farmers, and our country. The area will be used to educate visitors about the different species of Chestnut trees, the impact that small farms can have on reviving industry and illustrate the impact that one man can have on the world.
ABOUT BELLEFONTAINE CEMETERY AND ARBORETUM
Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum is in St. Louis, Missouri, and developed as part of the rural cemetery movement in 1849. The 314-acre cemetery boasts fourteen miles of roadway; over 9,000 trees and woody plant species; and has laid to rest over 87,000 brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the list goes on and on. While captains of industry, rugged explorers, and other notables are buried at the Level II Arboretum, Bellefontaine believes that all individuals interred within the grounds have a story to be told. The memorialization dotting the landscape is for the living, and these memories are to be shared.