What does this mean? "Receivership," by legal definition, refers to a "court order whereby all the property subject to dispute in a legal action is placed under the dominion and control of an independent person known as a receiver.” In this action, Judge Herron dissolved the 159-year-old Mount Moriah Cemetery Association, whose last officer died in 2004. The Mount Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation now has legal custodial responsibility for the property, including its tangible and intangible assets and rights, since the original company could not meet its obligations.
|Mount Moriah's historic brownstone gatehouse, Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia|
From the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. website:
“In December of 2012, Yeadon Borough and Philadelphia established the Mount Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation. This not-for-profit organization will likely become the Receiver of the property whereby it will be authorized to act on behalf of the Court for the Mount Moriah Cemetery Association in specified areas of business operations. Because of the complexity of the issues and in order to insure a similar situation does not occur in the future, ongoing municipal involvement is important. While the organization would be led by the municipal governments, the organization’s board is diverse in experience and ethnicity.”
|Mausoleums on Yeadon side of Mount Moriah Cemetery|
|College student volunteers on a cleanup day at Mount Moriah Cemetery|
ref.) As part of the attorneys’ prepared argument as to why the receivership should be granted (with the goal that Mount Moriah would be saved from further deterioration), Mr. McClure stated that the cemetery has 5,000 veterans, including 23 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. In response, Judge Herron made the pointed comment that all those buried at Mount Moriah deserve sanctity and respect, whether they have medals or not.
|Masonic Circle of Saint John, winter 2012, prior to clearing by FOMMCI|
From about the time it was abandoned in March of 2011, until the September 17, 2014 hearing, the cemetery has been maintained primarily through volunteer efforts organized by the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with assistance from the City of Philadelphia. Since 2011, the Friends have organized events with thousands of volunteers who have participated in cleanups, restoration, grave location, genealogical research, and historic tours.This will likely continue into the new era. Major fund-raising efforts will now be underway to make more significant improvements, for instance in the areas of security and infrastructure.
|Masonic Circle of Saint John, spring 2014, after clearing by FOMMCI|
|Mount Moriah's historic brownstone gatehouse|
“This is the largest cemetery that we know of that has been abandoned and left to die on the vine, for lack of a better term, that has been complicated by the history surrounding the site, by the political infrastructure surrounding the site and just by how truly bad conditions were at the site.” ... Abernathy says the cemetery was placed in his in-box when he worked in the Managing Director’s Office, but he took it with him to his new job in part because he was so impressed with the quality of civic leadership being brought to bear to rescue Mt. Moriah." (CBS news)
Mount Moriah Cemetery set for rebirth