ALBANY, N.Y. (News10)-One of the Capital Region’s most treasured, historical cemeteries has become overgrown with waist high weeds. Minus any new hires, the property is in need of volunteers with lawnmowers and weed trimmers.
At Albany Rural Cemetery you will find the final resting places of many historical figures like President Chester Arthur. But, there are also other lesser-know folks buried there. People who made a huge impact on those who loved them. People Like Ann Marie Gordon’s grandfather. We met Ann Marie while she was sprucing up his gravesite- because no one else is. “I’ve never seen it so bad. Never.” Ann Marie is talking about the waist high grass overtaking many large swaths of the property.
“Nobody likes the condition of it,” said David Eslinger, General Manager of the cemetery. “Myself being at the top of that list. But I am also bound to, you know, the constraints.” The constraints, as Eslinger puts it, is a shortage of money and workers. “We have to bury people. We have to provide cremation services. You have to let some things go to handle other things.”
He says the non-profit cemetery has raised wages to entice potential employees. But lacking new hires, they rely on volunteers, like the people who are helping restore parts of an African American section of the cemetery, says Paula Lemire, the cemetery’s historian. “It was always founded with the expectation that people would take care of their own lots. That their descendants would always take care of it. It becomes a challenge when the families die out,” said Lemire.
Gayle Langner, who lives in Massachusetts, but grew up in Lansingburgh found some of her ancestors here. But the headstones are tough to locate due to the high grass. That’s why any volunteers to help mow and weed whack would be warmly welcomed, said Eslinger. “It would he a great way to give back to the community. Because this belongs to the community.”
Want to help or volunteer? Email: info@AlbanyRuralCemetery.org