Historic Lockport Cemetery fighting to stay alive

Local News

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)

The Glenwood Cemetery in the City of Lockport is struggling to keep its finances in order in the face of shrinking revenue sources, and a former caretaker who is charged with stealing.

Glenwood has a long proud history–it was incorporated even before Lockport was officially a city–but times are changing, and cemetery officials are trying to figure out how to adapt.

Board president Allan VanDeMark said a growing number of people are choosing non-traditional end-of-life solutions, such as cremation and spreading the ashes in places other than a cemetery, or burial elsewhere, such as at sea.

The 60 acre cemetery is only about half filled, but as late as 10 years ago, VanDeMark said Glenwood was a much busier place, “Our business has slowly decreased and we have to have another source of funds.”

Glenwood is also the final resting place for a number of prominent Americans, including Washington Hunt, the only Niagara County resident to be elected governor of New York, and William R. Kenan, Jr., a philanthropist whose charitable trust has established two Kenan Centers– one in Lockport and another in his home state of North Carolina.

The University of North Carolina’s football stadium at Chapel Hill is also named after Kenan.

VanDeMark said times are tough, but with 11,000 permanent residents interned at Glenwood, cemetery officials plan to launch a letter-writing campaign to appealing to family members of those buried at the cemetery.

“They live around the United States, so we are going to contact them and see, perhaps, if one of them might have a great idea for funding for the next 100 years.”

VanDeMark said the cemetery’s board of directors is meeting Sunday to come up with a plan to improve the corporation’s financial standing, and he was adamant insisting Glenwood Cemetery is not closing.

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