Sunday, December 2, 2018

Group seeks to preserve historic Elmhurst cemetery

From the Queens Gazette:

Underneath a muddy desolate back lot near 47-11 90th Street in Elmhurst exists a forgotten cemetery. Almost two centuries ago, African-American residents of what was then known as Newtown buried their family and friends in this sacred place of eternal rest.

According to the Elmhurst History & Cemeteries Preservation Society, a total of 310 burials were made in the cemetery. Some burials have been removed but numerous remains are still at the site. The society stated that the African American community in Elmhurst traces backs to the time of slavery in the late 1600s.

In 1828 a parcel of land was donated to former slaves who were members of the United African Society (later known as St. Mark's AME Church) one year after slavery was abolished in New York State. The first African American church, parsonage, school and cemetery were set up at this site. Elmhurst had a free African American community living, working and worshiping in this particular area of Newtown.

In 1914, Booker T. Washington came to speak in Elmhurst to help raise funds for the St. Mark's AME church.

The goal of the society is to make the site a NYC Landmark and for it to be placed under the National Register of Historic Places.

More information, including a petition to save the burial ground, can be viewed here.

5 comments:

Toni said...

Good luck with that! Nothing gets preserved in Elmhurst. No one gives a second thought to the history of this neighborhood. Why should they? It's not their history, therefore no one give a crap. They should have landmarked that beautiful old home on 56th Avenue, across from Horsebrook Triangle. Instead they let it burn down to the ground by greedy, foreign developers. Imagine that....a home that was standing for some 200 years, bought by an Asian, and within 6 months, it just disappears. So really, why would they even care about building more cheap homes on old bones! Where were the preservationists when the Horsebrook home was destroyed!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Toni, its not Astoria.

The community is actually fighting for itself and not making an art of justifying why its being crapped on, while showing how much they love their community by taking picture after picture after picture of the Triboro Bridge.

Even if they lose, they can hold their head high. Actually, the only thing about this to marvel is that its happening in Queens for its fairly commonplace - and mostly successful - in the rest of the city.

Anonymous said...

>In 1828 a parcel of land was donated to former slaves who were members of the United African Society (later known as St. Mark's AME Church) one year after slavery was abolished in New York State. The first African American church, parsonage, school and cemetery were set up at this site. Elmhurst had a free African American community living, working and worshiping in this particular area of Newtown.

Who owns the land now? Why did it get sold? Who sells and buys a cemetery?

Anonymous said...

http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PropertyProfileOverviewServlet?boro=4&houseno=47-11&street=90%20street&requestid=0&s=A03C41B885B461E4F46BD08866A7430E

The DOB clearly shows on BIS:
Additional Designation(s): LPCA - LANDMARKS-BSA ARCHEOLOGY RESTRICTIONS

Anonymous said...

Where's the cemetery for white indentured servants? I wonder if those deceased were thrown into a pit at Potters Field when their indenture was fined into a life time of unpaid servitude. Their owners wouldn't want the cost of their burial.

I agree with the poster who asks who buys and sells a cemetery.
Although I do hope they are successful since it will be yet another place for the illegal alien Chinese to sell products like Chinese herbs, gamble, sell massages , discuss welfare fraud strategies, Oriental birth tourism and practice Tai Chi .

Ah the vibrant diversity. Fie on you who say it's an invasion.