Thursday, May 19, 2011
What will happen to historic Woodhaven cemetery?
From the Queens Chronicle:
The impending closure of the beloved 111-year-old Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Woodhaven is sending shadows across a community whose residents worry the diocese could sell the site to someone with little reverence for the historical building and the cemetery behind it.
Saint Matthew’s, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, will hold its last service on May 22 at 3 p.m. Officials from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, which owns the church at 85-45 96th St., said they decided to shutter it because of a dwindling number of parishioners.
John McGinty, the diocese’s director of communication, said it was “unclear” as to what will happen to the Wyckoff-Snediker Family Cemetery, which the church purchased from the city in the early 1960s and which was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
The cemetery has about 160 individual gravestones denoting burials from 1793 to 1892.
Allan Smith, 73, a Woodhaven resident who was baptized in the church, grew up going there and worked for years to restore the cemetery, said he is distraught to see the end of an establishment that has played an instrumental role in his life.
“It’s probably the finest example of English Gothic architecture on Long Island and probably on the East Coast,” said Smith, a former architect who has conducted tireless research on the cemetery and the church but is no longer a member. “It has a bell tower and beautiful stained glass. It really is very special.”
That may be, but it's in Queens, so down it will come. Just think how many units can be crammed into that space!