Edgewood Cemetery plans garden, tours
POTTSTOWN » Another attempt is underway to secure the future of Edgewood Cemetery and to make it sustainable.
Local attorney Andrew Monastra and his wife Sue are the latest community-minded residents to take on the effort.
Ideas include more tree plantings, a garden tour and maybe even a location for the farmer’s market.
“It’s our community and that’s what we’re supposed to do to try and make Pottstown a better place,” said Monastra.
Monastra is trying to re-invent the historical burial site.
“I have to transform the land somehow to make it self-sustaining,” Monastra said, adding that he doesn’t get money from the borough.
According to Monastra, the cemetery was never registered as a cemetery so it never received money from the orphan cemetery fund. Monastra hadn’t decided at the time of talking if he’d register it someday or not.
Monastra now has ideas on how to expand the cemetery and include the community. He spoke of leasing the plot between Edgewood and Keim streets to the Pottstown Farmer’s Market in the future, so that the biweekly event could have its own spot.
“That would be an incredible park, huge — at least two football fields,” Monastra said.
Monastra is also thinking about creating a garden in the front of the cemetery, where it is currently vacant. He spoke of allowing the garden to be open to the community and possibly pairing up with MOSAIC Land Trust for the future project.
“What I’d like to do with this is create some sort of giant gardens,” Monastra said. “I already worked out a deal with a garden place” that may donate unsold perennials to him for use at the cemetery.
Monastra has had issues with the landscaping since taking over.
Recently, the Borough of Pottstown posted a notice about grass being too high.
“It was an overgrown jungle, and it’s not that anymore,” Monastra said, who added that volunteers are coming every day now to help clear out the land.
One crew showed up on Memorial Day for a major cleanup, which was featured on ABC News.
Monastra has plans to make the cemetery more presentable and part of the community, having already added a rose bush at the corner of High and Keim Streets.
Monastra also hopes to create a walking tour, displaying the history and those buried at Edgewood, once the cemetery looks more decent.
Monastra said there are dozens of stories buried in the cemetery, a man buried next to his wife’s boyfriend, who had murdered him at his wife’s request.
“People get together and instead of burying him at Potter’s Field, they get him and they bury him here, right next to the guy he killed,” Monastra said. “It’s a great story. That’s the kind of stuff that we have that you’d walk around and see.”
The more than 150-yearold cemetery was created in 1861 when people in Pottstown believed an “additional place of interment was required,” according to its charter. They petitioned the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, and the five-acre space became the Edgewood Cemetery Co.
The land was officially bought in 1862 by William Mintzer and his wife Rebecca, but they never paid the $1,450 fee in full. When Mintzer died in 1867, he left $2,500 to the cemetery company.
Monastra also mentioned that any business that works with him and the cemetery will receive a tax deduction. He said The Hill School has expressed interest in helping and donating to the cemetery.
Anybody who would like to make a donation should write a check out to Edgewood Historic Cemetery, and send it to 740 East High St., Pottstown, Pa. 19464.
Edgewood Cemetery holds a lot of history that its new owner hopes to share.