April 27, 2015 |
On her late husband Michael's birthday in March, Bette Dalton visited his grave at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township and found a chipped headstone and muddy tire tracks. She trekked to the cemetery office to complain, and was surprised to get a sales pitch: A worker asked Dalton, 76, to consider buying her own casket. After Denise Caramenico inquired about a plot at Conshohocken's Calvary Cemetery, she got e-mails for months from a man who said he was from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Catholic Cemeteries.
April 20, 2015 |
The idea of buying cemeteries to generate revenue did not immediately appeal to Medford Township officials when the owner first made the unusual offer in 2012. Digging out of financial problems by raising property taxes was one thing. Digging graves and cremating remains was another. But they mulled the projected earnings of Park View Cemetery at Historic Medford Village and Park View Cemetery at Kirby's Mill, and decided the idea had merit. Several weeks ago, township officials approved a letter of intent to buy the cemeteries for nearly $11 million and said the investment could generate more than $82.7 million over 50 years.
January 6, 2015 |
High on a hill in West Philadelphia sits the most significant spot many Philadelphians have never heard of: the Woodlands, a historically and architecturally important mansion and cemetery that is home to many of the city's most notable dead. It is 54 acres of green and calm on the west bank of the Schuylkill, an oasis directly across the street from a SEPTA trolley portal. "It's this amazing place that nobody knows about," said Jessica Baumert, executive director of the Woodlands.
October 31, 2014 |
THE OLDEST house in Bellmawr, Camden County, sat in the back corner of a sprawling cemetery, mostly unnoticed, for centuries. The Hugg/Harrison/Glover house, as one local historian called the brick home, had additions tacked on over time, paint splattered over paint and covered in wallpaper. The date "1764" painted across the bricks of its west wall were hidden by trees and vegetation. Now the home's age is visible to thousands, day and night, unveiled atop a hill of dirt where South Jersey's busiest highways meet thanks to a Department of Transportation project that could turn it into rubble.
October 21, 2014 |
The gently rolling land at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery is usually a quiet, contemplative place. Flags flap in the breeze, visitors kneel at graves with flowers, and a line of cars heads to graveside services. But these days, the peace and serenity of the state-operated Burlington County cemetery is often broken by the sounds of heavy construction - part of a federally funded $18 million, three-year-long improvement project making way for more burials.
October 10, 2014 |
THE CEMETERY tucked behind the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church seems at first glance like any other. Neatly tended graves sit inside a fenced grassy area amid the rural, rolling hills of West Rockhill, upper Bucks County. Flowers bloom and a stone cherub greets contemplative mourners in a memorial garden at the cemetery's entrance. But beside one tombstone, Elmo and Mickey Mouse balloons bounce on the breeze, while Tonka bulldozers crowd a stuffed blue elephant on another.
September 21, 2014 |
A Philadelphia Orphans' Court judge has appointed a receivership to rehabilitate the neglected 200-acre Mount Moriah Cemetery, which straddles Cobbs Creek in Southwest Philadelphia and Yeadon, Delaware County, according to an order posted Friday. After a hearing Wednesday, Judge John W. Herron dissolved the 159-year-old Mount Moriah Cemetery Association, whose last officer died in 2004. The association's last employee abandoned the cemetery - where 5,000 veterans, including 23 recipients of the Medal of Honor, are buried - in 2011.
September 18, 2014 |
BACK IN THE early '60s, Mike "Teardrops" Silenzio needed a lead singer for the doo-wop group he was putting together. Mike attended South Philadelphia High School and he was chums with Fabian Forte, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and other kids who would go on to stellar singing careers, and he knew what he was looking for. His group, the Masters, consisted of Mike himself as second tenor, baritone Rich Finizio, his cousin Frank "Tweetie" Condo...
May 31, 2014 |
StoneMor Partners L.P. has made its initial payment of $53 million to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as part of a 60-year lease of 13 archdiocesan cemeteries, the Levittown company announced. The remaining annual lease payments are front-loaded, with $1 million in years six through 20, $1.2 million in years 21 to 25, and $1.5 million in years 26 to 35. No payments would be required in the final 25 years. The archdiocese previously has said it will use $30 million of the initial payment to offset an $80 million shortfall in its trust and loan fund, which holds deposits from parishes and makes loans to them.
May 18, 2014 |
Gravestone dealer Yakov Natanzon went to Shalom Memorial Park, a Jewish cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia, in April to place a stone on the grave of Emil Khrizman. But Natanzon found the spot for Khrizman's marker occupied by flowers and a photograph of Ella Kukava, according to a lawsuit, filed Monday in Common Pleas Court, alleging that Shalom Memorial's managers have a policy of selling more burial plots than the cemetery can hold. Because of this "overselling" of plots, individual graves "touch, nearly touch, or actually overlap with each other," according to the lawsuit, filed by DeNittis Osefchen P.C. and Bochetto & Lentz P.C., and seeking class-action status.