Edge­wood Ceme­tery plans gar­den, tours

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Mon­ica Sager msager@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

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.

MON­ICA SAGER — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Edge­wood Ceme­tery holds a lot of his­tory that its new owner hopes to share.

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