Tours of Important Salem Landmarks Celebrate Three Anniversaries
To mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Old Burying Grounds in Salem, N.Y., the Dr. Asa Fitch Historical Society is planning an historic tour of the site on Saturday, September 7, beginning at the Salem Courthouse Community Center on East Broadway, which is observing an anniversary. A tour of the building, built 150 years ago in 1869, will highlight its architecture, restoration and historical significance, as well as some jail-house stories starting at 8:30 a.m. Participants will them board a vintage bus driven by Ed Napiwocki to travel to the Old Burying Grounds on Archibald Street. Started in 1769, it is also known as the Revolutionary War Cemetery and holds over 1000 graves. It has undergone considerable restoration over the past several years. Grants and private donations totaling over $38,000 have allowed the stone wall to be repaired and for many headstones to be re-set. Last summer the Salem Rotary Club completed cleaning the marble headstones, which now are gleaming white once again.
Highlights of the tour will include examining examples of marble headstones carved by
several prominent artists of the late 18th century. Over 30 stones are attributed to Zerubabble Collins of Dorset; many other artisans carved stones in their own distinctive styles. Several laid-stone, sod-covered family vaults –
traditionally found in Ireland and Scotland – are scattered throughout the cemetery. These speak to the roots of early Salem settlers who arrived here from those countries.
There are over 105 documented graves of Revolutionary War soldiers – more than any other cemetery in Washington County. Costumed re-enactors will tell of their lives, some virtuous and some not. The group will then ride to the Evergreen Cemetery, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Opened in 1869, it is the final resting place of many area notables.
The tour will then conclude with a visit to the Battenkill Creamery for ice cream before returning to the Courthouse. The cost of the tour is $30, with proceeds to be used for further restoration and repair at the Revolutionary War Cemetery. Reservations are required; contact Judith Flagg at 518-854-3510 or [email protected]