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Local cemetery bridges town and gown through past and present

By Jared Conti in News

March 29, 2012

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Photo by Michelle M Peters

Maybe you’ve tromped up the hill for art class to find something to draw, a science class to identify local flora, or just wanted to get a feel for what burial practices are like; Maybe you’ve taken up a sixer or your lovely to get your game on.

Whatever the case may be—and even if you have never been up there—Highland Cemetery is in need of your help.

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, March 31 at 9 a.m. in the cemetery, which borders Bentley Commons.

Park Day is one of only three Pennsylvania cemeteries to participate in a cleanup and restoration initiative brought about by The Civil War Trust, the U.S. Department of the Interior and a grant from the History Channel.

“There is plenty of history waiting just outside your door,” said Dave Wallace, president of the non-profit Highland Cemetery Company. “Philip Price gave 16 acres to start Lock Haven Normal School that now borders the cemetery. The property is riddled with founding fathers, the movers and shakers of 150 years ago,”

In addition to activities, trash removal and the necessary upkeep of the area—such as the leveling of tombstones—there is a chance to examine and inventory veteran’s graves.

To date there are approximately 650 veterans buried within the cemetery’s confines; some of whom have served in multiple wars.

On hand to volunteer will be members of the Clinton/Lycoming County Young Marines, family and business groups, as well as the Lock Haven University community.

Flanking Wallace is junior recreation management major Josh Eckendorf.

Last fall Eckendorf organized a cemetery Halloween tour. He has volunteered with Wallace for two years.

“We gathered student volunteers and dressed up as well-known Lock Havenites and soldiers and gave a historical tour of Highland Cemetery’s interred. Sloan, Price… a soldier from the 54th Massachusetts Infantry,” Eckendorf said.

Wallace also said he is very excited about the potential the town has to offer university students in their “home away from home.”

“Highland Cemetery offers significance to the city and the university. We were unsure what to anticipate in our first venture with Park Day, yet committed donors from local businesses and volunteers have exceeded our expectations,” Wallace added.

For more information more information on how to assist email Dave Wallace at dwallace@kcnet.org or visit http://www.highlandcemeterylockhavenpa.org.

 
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