Lehigh Valley

Historic cemetery in Allentown faces new challenge

Historic cemetery in Allentown faces new challenge

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A historic cemetery in Allentown is battling to stay alive. It seems like it's been one setback after another for the Union and West End Cemetery.

The cemetery dates back to the 1850's. Only Gettysburg has more Civil War veterans buried here but mother nature is creating another battle for the non-profit trying to run it.

"We have the first Mayor buried here, got a congressman buried here, have a medal of honor winner from the civil war buried here," Cemetery President Everette Carr told us.

But time and most recently the weather has taken its toll on Allentown's Union and West End Cemetery.

"The damage is quite extensive, this is the base of the angel," Lori Shultz said while showing us damage from a giant fallen tree limb. "We don't have insurance to pay for this."

That's not even the most monumental problem for the private non-profit run cemetery.

"It's sink hole," Carr said while showing us a fenced off area of the cemetery.

Carr says two sink holes developed in March after a heavy snow melt and rain.

This happened after cemetery land was weakened from a water main break brought on by a sinkhole on North 10th Street in December 2011.

"In order for them to really understand, what's going on, $10,000,"he said of a geologist firm's quote to look into the problem.

A steep price on just a budget of $14,000 per year. Carr admits that donations and volunteers are needed.

One of those volunteers is Wendie Lazansky She's part of the Old Allentown Preservation Association.

Through a grant the group is helping to plant over 140 rose bushes within the cemetery along Chew Street.

"I think it's a very important part of Allentown's history," she said.

So too does Everett he and his group of 9 board members are working to save history, so the cemetery isn't buried with it.

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