City of Manassas to Hold Cemetery Plot Lottery

Cemetery had been full for more than 30 years, but officials recently found space for an additional 124 plots; demand is anticipated to be high

Monday, Aug 26, 2013  |  Updated 8:48 PM EDT
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There will be a lottery to determine who will be able to purchase burial plots in a historic cemetery in Manassas. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver explains.

David Culver

There will be a lottery to determine who will be able to purchase burial plots in a historic cemetery in Manassas. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver explains.

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Manassas, Va., is holding a lottery with a grim prize: The ability to purchase plots in a city-owned cemetery.

The cemetery had been sold out since the 1940s, but officials recently created space for an additional 124 plots from a road that was no longer in use. Demand is anticipated to be high.

Michael Moon, the city's public works and utilities director said the land was thought to have belonged to the railroad company, but some digging this year proved it was the city's.

"We feel that they will be more of a request than [what] we have [available]," said public information officer Patty Prince.

For longtime resident Linday Womack, the historic Manassas Cemetery has been a dream for her final resting place, she told Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver.

"No other place can you go that's right in the center of Manassas that's so historic," she said.

Many of the tombstones date to the Civil War. Some people buried there were born in the 1700s.

But as time passed, space in the heart of Old Town Manassas ran out.

"We haven't been able to bury anyone in the cemetery unless they did have a plot for many years," Womack said.

Applicants must be city of Manassas residents or property owners who were 18 or older on Jan. 1. The lottery will go live Sept. 4 and stay open through Oct. 4 at 3 p.m.

"That was really because we just wanted to be fair about it and give everybody a chance," Moon said.

A public drawing will determine the order of buyers, who will then be able to purchase up to two plots each until the supply is exhausted. Plots will cost $4,500.

"People do plan ahead and look for that kind of thing," Prince said.

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