Thursday, April 30, 2015

Park Day 2015 at Mount Moriah Cemetery

On March 28, 2015, The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. celebrated our nation’s “Park Day” with a special restoration event at the cemetery (half of which is in Philadelphia, half in Yeadon, PA.). Tours and cleanup activities abounded! About a hundred people showed up to help restore some of the sections that had become overgrown.

America’s  “Park Day” is sponsored by the Civil War Trust. For the fourth year in a row, the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. participated and honored the memory of those who died in both wars. I was there to photograph and document some of the activities.

"Since 1996, the Civil War Trust has sponsored Park Day, an annual hands-on preservation event to help Civil War — and now Revolutionary War — battlefields and historic sites take on maintenance projects large and small. Activities are chosen by each participating site to meet their own particular needs and can range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and trail buildings."

Easily a hundred people attended, most with tools in hand to help clear graves. After I posted the image above on Facebook (click for link), one reader responded: "That is one of our old sledding hills in the back ground. The silver car is parked at the bottom. I don't know how long it's been since I saw it. Congratulations to the Friends of Mt. Moriah for your labor of love. If I didn't live in Arizona I'd be out helping you."

Section 27 (photo above) was an area of work concentration for the day. Flags were placed on Veterans' graves after the weeds were cleared.

Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. Board Vice President Bill Warwick and his trusty chainsaw! That wonderful yellow shirt he's modeling with the Mount Moriah Gatehouse logo is available for purchase, by the way: $20 from the Friends. Please inquire at Help us fund future restoration work!

Volunteering to clear a heavily wooded area near the Masonic Circle of St. John are workers from Circle Landscape Services of Philadelphia. The company is affiliated with Philadelphia's Masonic Jerusalem Lodge 506.

One of the most photographed examples of overgrowth at Mount Moriah Cemetery is evident in the photo above. The orange paint marks the trees to be cut and chipped from around this crypt in Section 31.

Happy restorationists Joe (Sr.) and Joey (Jr.) Reilly (of Harleysville, PA) cleared overgrowth and weeds from the area around Civil War Nurse Mary Brady's grave. (Read more about their experience at this link.)

Volunteers tackling the high weeds in Section 27!

Temple University (Philadelphia) student volunteers Anastasia Longoria and Ryan Greed take a break from their work of clearing graves. Temple sent forty students to help at Mount Moriah for Park Day!!!!!

Circle Landscape Services (Philadelphia) workers start up chainsaws to fell trees around the Masonic Circle of Saint John. Note the tall marble column in the background, the monument to the Pennsylvania Masonic Grand Tyler. The column can be seen in the photo below, through the weeds at right. This is what the Circle of Saint John looked like before the massive restoration project of 2013!

Circle of Saint John, c. 2012

Joe Becton of the 3rd Regiment USCT (United States Colored Troops) was on hand to place flags on Civil War veterans' graves. He is greeted by The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc., Board President Paulette Rhone at the check-in area.

Reverend Marlon Smith (photo above, far right in foreground) leads tour of “African American Sailors of the Civil War” in Mount Moriah's Naval Asylum Plot (Yeadon, PA side of cemetery). Rev. Smith's son, Joshua, read short bios of each veteran on the tour's stop. A wonderful presentation! The fellow at left is reenactor Dan Cashin (Fort Delware). This gentleman is a specialist on the war ships used in the Civil War, and explained the vessels on which each of the veterans served.

Reenactors stood guard at each grave on the tour of “African American Sailors of the Civil War” in Mount Moriah's Naval Asylum Plot.

Readers interested in helping out at a future restoration event, or sponsoring one, please contact the (The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. at The schedule is posted at this link.