New Castle News

Closer Look

May 24, 2013

Blessing, repairs set for cemetery

NEW CASTLE — The former Harbor Presbyterian Church in Mahoning Township dissolved in 2005. Now all that remains is its cemetery.

Harbor Bridge Cemetery has been in existence since 1850. Charles Ellenberger said that at one point, grass had grown so tall there that you couldn’t even tell a cemetery was there.

Ellenberger, 49, is the owner of the property of Harbor Bridge Cemetery. He also is the man responsible for the restorations that will soon take place there.

Ellenberger grew up next door to the cemetery, and he and his family would cut the grass there, even before they purchased the land in a tax sale.

Tomorrow, Ellenberger has planned a service to do a blessing for the cemetery, and to also rededicate the property. The Rev. Father John Harris from Youngstown will be performing the service. It starts at 3 p.m. at the cemetery, which is located at 352 Garner Road in Edinburg.

Ellenberger said that the service also will be dedicated to veterans in honor of Memorial Day.

“It’s for the veterans that are buried here, and veterans in general,” he noted.

As far as renovations go, Ellenberger said that he has put up a flagpole, gathered materials and recruited some neighbors to help out.

“Now it’s just a matter of doing it,” he said.

By the end of this summer, he hopes to return all of the fallen headstones to their upright position. However, he thinks it will take around two years to do all the work, unless he can get more help. He has about four other people assisting him with this project, but as he explained, “they all have their own lives besides this.”

Ellenberger said that he may also purchase the piece of land adjacent to the cemetery to add to what he’s calling a memorial garden. When it’s all said and done, he’d like to put in a memorial stone that will include the names of all the people in the cemetery, or at least as many as he can obtain.

He said he has documentation for 60 graves. There are about four or five gravesites of which he’s unsure to whom they belong.

Ellenberger said many cemeteries in the Lawrence County area are in poor condition, but he is determined to keep Harbor Bridge from falling by the wayside. He’s trying to do these restorations as a community project, more than anything.

“Ultimately I’d like to see it last another 150 years,” he said, “I’d like to preserve what’s here, and have what’s here survive.”

 

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