SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, some missing pieces of history have suddenly been returned to a landmark cemetery where some of California's first settlers are laid to rest. The recovery of some long missing tombstones is a significant find for the teams of volunteers which maintain the graveyard.
Volunteers are revealing some long-forgotten history and mystery inside Santa Rosa's Rural Cemetery.
The first burial at this cemetery took place in 1854 but over the years, many tombstones broke or went missing.
"We don't often get stones back, in this area when I was a boy, people would take the stones home, use them for landscaping or bookends," cemetery volunteer and historian, Jonathan Quandt said.
So imagine the surprise when Quandt and his cemetery crew got a call regarding some long-lost tombstones.
"We figured we'd never get them back and then we get this call and recover these tombstones that are almost perfect.. it's a miracle," said Kit Conover.
Three headstones and eight footstones, suddenly recovered.
Quandt says the stones were discovered by a homeowner, inside their garage, they'd likely been there for 30 years with intentions of repairing them. He says the person's name will remain anonymous.
"We're very happy to get them back, they had the best intentions. They weren't stolen but taken and then forgotten," said Quandt.
Now the work to restore the missing marble has begun.
"What we're going to do is take the stone and put it here," said Quandt.
Volunteers believe there are many more missing headstones out there in the community. Their plea is to just bring them back, no questions asked.
"We have complete amnesty for anybody who wants to return anything," Quandt added.
Finally, some missing history is being returned to this hillside.
"It's like a jigsaw puzzle," Conover added.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live