Friday, May 10, 2013

Woodland Cemetery: Damage and Neglect Prevents Safe Day 2013

Woodland Cemetery in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey suffered damage last October during Hurricane Sandy.  Every year, a group visits Woodland in June to document headstones, called "Safe Day."  There is no caretaker on site and no physical barrier (other than overgrown vegetation, fallen trees, and garbage) to preclude entry into the Cemetery day or night.  The surrounding area is marked with violence.  Over the years, headstones have been stolen, moved, and damaged.  Litter is strewn about.  In spite of some conservation efforts, the Cemetery remains in disrepair.

Mary Lish and John Sass lead the effort to record the remaining headstones and establish a more reliable map for Woodland.  They visited Woodland on May 5th and shared photographs.  The landscaping has not been cleared since my visit in April.

Mary wrote, "With regret, after 15 years, we are forced to cancel this year’s Safe Day due to the condition of the cemetery.   The grass has not been cut since Safe Day last year, June 2, 2012.  To make matters even more difficult, Hurricane Sandy brought down multiple trees and tree limbs all over the cemetery.  Some of the trees have been cut down, but the wood has not been removed.  We do not feel it is safe to walk in the cemetery – you cannot even tell where some of the roads are since everything is so overgrown."

It is a shame that some people have desecrated the final resting place of my ancestors and that the deterioration is allowed to compound.


Woodland Cemetery, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
May 2013

Woodland Cemetery, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
May 2013

Woodland Cemetery, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
May 2013

Woodland Cemetery, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
May 2013