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Townsend Cemetery Undergoes Historic Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2022
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                                   Brian Devine | (516) 869-2475

Townsend Cemetery Undergoes Historic Restoration 

North Hempstead, NY – Supervisor Jennifer DeSena and Council Member Peter Zuckerman, along with Town Historian Ross Lumpkin and the Roslyn Landmark Society were proud to join together on September 14 to celebrate the phase one completion of the historic Townsend Cemetery’s restoration. Descendants from the Townsend and Jackson families, who are interned at the cemetery, were also on hand to see the progress.

“Historical preservation is imperative to allow future generations to learn from the past and I’m proud that the Town has completed the first phase of this important restoration project,” Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said.” As American historian David McCullough once said, ‘History is who we are, and why we are the way we are.’ Restoration projects like this one go a long way towards helping preserve our Town’s rich past.”

“We were thrilled to welcome the members of the Townsend and Jackson families today,” stated Council Member Peter Zuckerman. “Restoring historical landmarks is so important to preserve the history of these families and of the Town. North Hempstead is proud to be able to assist with these efforts and ensure that historical cemeteries are preserved and well cared for.”

In December 2021, the Townsend Cemetery in East Hills was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation. The grant was awarded to the Roslyn Landmark Society. The Town and the Roslyn Landmark Society worked in partnership for the recent restoration efforts.

“Successful projects like this are all about teamwork with the community,” remarked Town Historian Ross Lumpkin. “Our collaboration with the Roslyn Landmark Society has proven to be the right approach. We are especially grateful to the Gardner Foundation for its support.”

Howard Kroplick, co-president of the Roslyn Landmark Society and former town historian of North Hempstead commented, “Ten years ago, access to this historic cemetery was blocked by fallen trees, brush, weeds and debris, and the burying ground was abandoned and in disrepair. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of officials from the Town of North Hempstead, Village of East Hills, and the Roslyn Landmark Society, the surrounding neighbors and grant support from the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation, the first phase of its restoration has been successfully completed. Everyone associated with this project should be very proud of this accomplishment.”

The Town has helped with extensive cleanup of the burial grounds and maintaining an access road to help further bolster restoration efforts. With assistance from Burying Ground Preservation and Stewart Preservation Services, 200 headstone and footstone fragments were uncovered. The rehabilitation process was able to restore 16 headstones and 11 footstones. This past summer, the first part of the restoration process was completed. This will help protect the headstones that are vulnerable to damage and deterioration due to weather.

The Townsend Cemetery dates back to 1790 and was active for almost 104 years. Throughout this period, it was known as the Willis Farm Cemetery, Greenvale Cemetery, and now the Townsend Cemetery. 21 of the 31 internment locations have now been identified.

Top Row (Left to Right): Howard Silverberg (Former resident, East Hills); Roz Kroplick (Roslyn Landmark Society); Howard Kroplick (Co-President, Roslyn Landmark Society); Michael Koblenz (Mayor of the Village of East Hills); Peter Zuckerman (Council Member, Town of North Hempstead); Trevor Stone (Descendant of the Jackson family); Jennifer DeSena (Supervisor, Town of North Hempstead); Ross Lumpkin (Town Historian, Town of North Hempstead); Zachary Studenroth (Principal, Burying Ground Preservation Group, Inc.); and Jennifer Lister (Executive Director, Roslyn Landmark Society).

Bottom row (Left to Right): Tom Devaney (Grant Coordinator, Town of North Hempstead; Darren St. George (Roslyn Landmark Society); and Bill Townsend (Descendant of the Townsend family).

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