Archive for the ‘Cemeteries’ Category

Recent news

Bergen Record article on a study of some really really old rocks in Passaic County

AMC is bringing it’s “dine-in theaters to NJ, but they’re only coming to central jersey for now. I wanna try this even if it means going down to Bridgewater just for a movie.

A stockpile of 2600 tons of mercury has finally been relocated out of Hillsborough, NJ. Only took 50 years….

A Hunterdon man grew (then carved) a 500 lb pumpkin

Scott Willman doesn’t just take care of Mount Pleasant cemetery. He lives there. Speaking of cemeteries, A pair of retirees have been working hard to research the locations of veterans buried in forgotten cemeteries in Morris County. In another cemetery story, a slave headstone is beyond repair, but a locals are pitching in to replace it with a new one

Speaking of odd jobs, apparently people go around the state gathering acorns (fighting off squirrels) so they can plant them and keep oak trees alive.

I once was young and stupid. (note: I’m now old and stupid). I stole road signs and dropped bowling balls from great heights. But I still can’t help but be amused when idiot teens get busted for… I dunno… stealing stuff for a scavenger hunt.

Finally, the state has decided that the best way to handle the over 20,000 toxic waste sites is to farm out the cleanup to private contractors and let the DEP handle only the worst of the worst. Yeah, I can’t see anything wrong with that.

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Locals try to preserve 200 year old cemetery

The Hope cemetery has some graves that go back as far as the American Revolution. It is believed that if not for the efforts of locals to preserve it, it will succomb to the grass and dirt and weather and be lost forever.

Blairstown Pet cemetery

I don’t really know much about the cemetery or it’s history. I can tell you that they accept all manner of animals including horses and gorilla, though the primary pets buried here are dogs and cats. The pet cemetery is off limits to the public, something I only discovered after wandering around. The sign is located once you get to the parking lot, and near the road (which would make sense) Needless to say I parked and headed to the right, never seeing the sign till I came back to my car.

debate over maitenence of cemetery in Norwood

residents upset over the way cemetery is being taken care of in Norwood

update: norwood will erect a low stone wall fence around the cemetery

The town will erect a low, stone wall around a 300-year-old cemetery, laying to rest a two-year battle between historians and residents. Council members said they wanted to protect the historic Haring Cemetery, which dates to the 1700s and contains the remains of Bergen County’s earliest settlers. The area, which is in the middle of several back yards, was previously unmarked and overgrown with trees and weeds.

The cemetery, located off Meadow Lane, has been a source of controversy as historical groups and neighbors argued about how to best preserve the site. Historians were concerned that additional stones have been covered up over time. They lobbied to erect a fence around the cemetery while the neighbors feared such delineation would create an eyesore. The borough council decided that a wall made of Belgian block less than a foot high and 66 feet square would be a fair compromise.

“We want to preserve the site but we don’t want it to be overly conspicuous for the sake of the neighbors,” said Councilman Barry Scott, who has been working on the plan for two years. Scott estimated that the wall would cost between $5,000 and $7,000. “This is a big step,” said Rich Williams, chairman of the Norwood Historic Preservation Committee, adding that he’s thrilled with the council’s move to protect the historic landmark. “It’s been a long time in the works. We’re very happy with this. Now we hope to do some landscaping around the area.”

Robert Garner, a neighbor of the cemetery, who had initially opposed the fence, said he was not present at the meeting. He is now having trouble confirming the height of the fence. “If it will be 4 to 6 inches of a cobblestone that blends into the area, then we will be satisfied,” he said Monday. Ownership of the cemetery can be traced to John Haring. When he died in 1802, he didn’t deed the land to anyone. For years the cemetery was ownerless.

The borough recently took ownership at the urging of historic groups that wanted to protect the gravestones. Among those buried in the cemetery are Abraham Haring, who died in 1801 and Betsey Bogert, who died in 1890. Recently, the preservation committee obtained a $1,829 grant that allowed them to hire an expert to restore the aging tombstones, which were toppled over, said Scott. “Now it looks a lot better.” The next step, he said, is to remove the weeds and tall grass surrounding the stones. The council hopes to proceed with plans for the fence in the spring. “The idea is to delineate the area,” said Borough Clerk Lorraine McMackin. “It will be non-obtrusive.”

why I like visiting cemeteries

New Jersey was discovered by Henry Hudson around 1609 and Dutch settlers came soon afterward. Most families buried their dead on the farm or perhaps in a small church cemetery. Markers were often crudely carved stones or wooden crosses. As NJ has become more and more developed, the family cemetery became outdated. People now bury their dead either in church cemeteries or large private cemeteries. Some cemeteries can contain as many as 100,000 dead.

Cemeteries are essentially history. Besides functioning as a place for the families to come and be with their loved ones, you can see patterns amongst the stones. Perhaps it’s the same name over and over and over, or a large number of markers in the same season representing a bitter hard winter. Sometimes cemeteries will have a Jewish section, or a German section, reflecting waves of new immigrants. Sometimes you’ll even find a slave section as well, reflective of that ugly period of American history where such things were legal. Other times you’ll find a mass grave of some disaster or accident. History in the making.

The large cemeteries of today can also provide quite a bit of eye candy. There are beautiful headstones with pictures of the deceased, images of serenity, or pictures of something the deceased enjoyed doing, such as sailing. Then you have large mausoleums where the deceased are interred above ground, avoiding the normal process of decay that consumes from below ground. Then there are the incredibly beautiful (and sometimes very large) images of Jesus, angels, weeping wives & mothers, children, cherubs, crosses, and more. The money spent on monuments like this is unimaginable. I also like when you find a headstone from the 1700’s and it looks smooth and perfect as if it was put there last week. Makes me wonder why other headstones become so decrepit and decayed so quickly….Speaking of decay, it doesn’t matter if a person is rich or poor, young or old, all share the same final destination. As a character on “Six Feet Under” said: “The whole world is a graveyard”.

I enjoy wandering thru cemeteries, appreciating all of these things, and I hope that you the viewer understand why I do this. Just because I enjoy wandering thru cemeteries doesn’t make me morbid, nor am I a goth fan. I don’t dress in black and listen to punk rock, nor do I conduct ceremonies at midnight. I’m just an average guy. I hope you’ll appreciate this section and look on it with respect. Nothing here is meant to make fun of or denigrate any one here. One person I know said,”About a hundred years ago, families would go to cemeteries together with a picnic lunch, the adults would take care of the graves while the kids would wander around. Cemeteries were a place to be respectful, but they weren’t seen as macabre or spooky the way they seem to be by some people today.”. Well stated.

I especially love old cemeteries. The markers are different from the ones they make now. I also enjoy speculating about the people who were buried there. I sometimes find nameless markers and feel sorry for the deceased because they have no family, or sometimes find incredible monuments and think “Damn. This was Somebody.” On the other hand, a large expensive ornate headstone or mausoleum doesn’t mean they were somebody, though often this is the case…

storms

Five children born. Five children died before they were a year old.

Commonplace for the time period, a reminder of how fragile life was 100 years ago…

Dewolfe cemetery

A small roadside cemetery. I don’t know anything about it and the research i did yielded no information. It was likely an old family plot on a farm which was sold off bit by bit till nothing of the family estate remained but the cemetery.

dewolfe

dewolfefar

Watchung Reservation

The area was originally settled by the Wilcocks family, who ran a grist and lumber mill. A small cemetery plot with four gravestones dating to the 1700s is the only evidence of the earliest settlers. It is believed that it became abandoned at some point before again becoming occupied in the 1800’s. David Felt rebuilt mills and began a book and paper processing center, which furnished products to the New York stationery business.

It is presumed that in these 11 houses that were built, 4 families lived in each house. There was one building that served as a general store, school, and church for the residents of this village. In the 1860’s Felt sold the village, and it was sold several times over in the next 20 years. It eventually ended up in the hands of a man named Ackerman who renamed it Glenside Park. He tore down most of the buildings and built new ones more suited to farming and raising cattle. The old mill was used as a stable until it become structurally unsound and was torn down in the 1930’s. The barn was built in 1882 to house horses and carriages which would transport business men to the train station.Glenside park flourished until 1916.

In the 1920’s, the Union County Parks Commission purchased the property. The houses in the village were rented out to families until the 1960’s. The village was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1980. The barn is now home to the Union County’s own Operation Archeology.

Watching Reservation is home the bunny bridge and also was home to a Nike base

There is a large water tower nearby, and although there was only one confirmed suicide, it has been nicknamed “Suicide Tower”.

guide to hiking in watchung reservation

another hiking guide