In a December 1940 editorial in the Niagara Falls Gazette, writer Arthur Pond offered the opinion that “... the cultural temperature (of a community) can be read from the care of local cemeteries.”
If that is true today then residents of the Highway Park community must surely be feeling the warm glow of cultural pride after a cleanup effort this week at the community’s historic cemetery.
All ages came together to collect debris, trim bushes, pull weeds and generally improve the cemetery. Students from the Interact Clubs at Lake Placid High and Middle schools joined volunteers from Keep Highway Park Beautiful, the Highway Park Neighborhood Council and neighborhood volunteers. Some were barely older than toddler age and others were senior citizens.
Loose stones were picked up, grass was mowed, weeds trimmed away from the graves, and trees were trimmed. Debris, shrubbery, and trash filled 29 oversized garbage bags by the end of the work effort. A 20-foot-tall flagpole, damaged in a storm, was removed and is set to be replaced in the very near future.
But there’s still work to do. Almost unreadable headstones lay broken, toppled and overgrown by weeds. Large trees with deep roots are shifting monuments and toppling other headstones. A sign would be welcome and fencing for the cemetery is a project being eyed. To help with expenses, a benefit concert will be held Saturday, April 19 at Action Revival Center. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
We hope the concert is a tremendous success and that renovations to the Highway Park cemetery are hastened by the effort. Through the efforts of community leaders, a new sense of pride is evident in Highway Park. Bringing the cemetery back to being a respectful final resting place will only increase that spirit of pride.