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Posted on: May 7, 2019

Rosehill Memorial Park full of history

St Leos section

The St. Leo’s sections contain many of the cemetery’s oldest markers.

Rosehill Memorial Park is a quiet, serene location in southeast Minot. It’s also full of history.

And if you want to know something about Rosehill Memorial Park, Rod Roteliuk is your man. If he doesn’t know the answer, he almost certainly knows where to find the information.

Roteliuk has worked at the cemetery since 2007, and took over as superintendent when longtime superintendent Cleo Nicolaisen retired in 2018.

“When I started here in 2007, they told me there were about 20,000 people buried here and there was room for about that many more,” he said. “I think it will be quite a while until we run out of space.”

Rosehill was established in 1890 when the first acres were purchased from John Wood for $220. The first two sections on the western edge of the cemetery are the original St. Leo’s cemetery. The City of Minot became owner of the cemetery in the 1960s, with ownership transferred for a fee of $1.

Roteliuk said it’s fairly uncommon for cemeteries to be owned by a city, but there are a few others he knows about, including one in Williston. Generally, cemeteries are owned by churches or are privately owned.

“I don’t know why the City of Minot became the owner. Maybe it was the thing to do back in those days, or maybe there just wasn’t anyone else who was able to take over ownership and maintenance,” Roteliuk said.

Rosehill’s employees include a superintendent, three equipment operators, and one person in the office. There are four buildings on the grounds, including the office/shop, a chapel, a bell tower, and the vault building.

The land that currently is utilized for Rainbow Gardens and nearby softball fields is part of the cemetery, although based on current burial numbers, it will be quite a while before that property is needed for cemetery usage.

Some sections are reserved for flat markers, while standing markers are allowed in other certain sections. “That’s partly for a consistent look, but it also makes it easier for maintenance purposes,” Roteliuk said, adding that his crew maintains about 46 acres.

A distinctive feature of Rosehill is its bell tower, which was installed in 1977 as a dedication to the veterans buried in the cemetery. The original music player stopped working before 2007, and was replaced with a digital system paid for through a fund-raising effort in 2016. Music is played every day at 12:15 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. when taps is played.

Other facts about Rosehill:

  • Approximately 22,000 burials in the cemetery
  • More than 250 burials each year
  • 50 sections platted out for use; only 35 are being used now
  • 3 sections are reserved for military veterans

Roteliuk said the cemetery has a fascinating history, and is home to several unique features.

The original St. Leo’s sections contain many of the cemetery’s oldest markers, as well as a variety of old markers that evoke memories of the past.

In a nearby section, nestled between a small group of trees, is a small stone house that is the final resting place of members of the Clarence Parker family. On the edge of an older veterans section is a tall, white monument that stands in honor to the fallen military members, including the inscription: “Erected by the girls military squad. Minot N.D. May 30, 1918.”

In another section, rising into the branches of a massive pine tree, is a stone monument inscribed “In memory of our fathers, presented by daughters of union veterans of the civil war, 1861-1865. May 30, 1932.”

“We have a lot of information in our office, and we all do whatever we can to help anyone looking for a certain marker,” Roteliuk said. “We also help with genealogy research. A lot of people are looking for information about family members, so we’re happy to help them find what they need.”

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