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40°42′44″N 73°53′15″W / 40.71222°N 73.88750°W / 40.71222; -73.88750
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All Faiths Cemetery
All Faiths Cemetery

The All Faiths Cemetery is located in Middle Village, Queens, New York. The 225-acre (91-hectare) cemetery was established in 1850 by Lutheran pastor Frederick W. Geissenhainer, and incorporated in 1852. [1] Originally named Lutheran Cemetery, it was renamed to Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in 1990. Approximately 540,000 burials have been conducted at the cemetery since its founding. [2]

History

In 1847 the New York state legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act, which allowed nonprofit organizations to incorporate and sell burial plots. Seeing an opportunity to provide a lower-cost alternative to existing cemeteries such as Green-wood in Brooklyn, the Rev. Dr. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, the pastor of St. Paul's German Lutheran Church, conferred with representatives of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church (his prior parish). [3] [4] While St. Paul's decided against investing in this endeavor, St. Matthew's and Dr. Geissenhainer pursued the purchase of land in Queens in 1850. The parcels owned by St. Matthews and Dr. Geissenhainer were held and developed separately; he incorporated as the "Lutheran Cemetery" (although members of all faiths were accepted) on March 22, 1852. Additional acreage was purchased over the next few years, and the Lutheran Cemetery bought the St. Matthew's land in 1868. [1] Burials at the Lutheran Cemetery started at $2.50, and plots could be obtained for $7.00. [1]

In 1990, the name was changed to All Faiths Cemetery "to show accommodation to ALL religious and non-religious patrons". [2]

In 2006, vandals allegedly toppled over or destroyed over 60 headstones, some of which the cemetery's president said weighed over 800 pounds (360 kilograms); he asserted that a group of mischievous teenagers had caused the damage and stated, "At first it seemed they were targeting Jewish-sounding names, but then we realized they were just jumping all over." [5]

Beginning in 2014, local news media ran stories questioning why some sections of the cemetery were in disrepair. [6] [7] One article described "Toppled monuments, sunken gravestones and shattered mausoleum windows..." [8] The chairman of the cemetery's board of directors attributed such conditions to a lack of funds and state law restricting use of perpetual-care funds for upkeep of graves where the owners had not paid for such care. [9] [8]

On October 11, 2016, Nell Scovell shared an attempt of hers to visit the headstone of real-estate developer Fred Trump, the father of Donald Trump, who was subsequently elected the 45th U.S. president. Although the cemetery's website listed the grave as one it would show "upon request", Scovell was met with resistance from the cemetery's president, who accused her of criminal trespassing and told her to "Come back after the election." [10]

Alleged management issues

On September 3, 2019, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit against the directors and officers of the cemetery, alleging that they had "exploited their positions at the Cemetery to draw fees, salaries, and loans from the Cemetery's charitable assets while ignoring their basic fiduciary obligation to manage the assets under their control for the benefit of the Cemetery and its property." [11] [12] The lawsuit followed investigations arising from an audit by the New York State Division of Cemeteries in 2014. [12] As of February 2022, the case was still making its way through the legal process.

Notable burials and memorials

The victims of the 1904 fire on the steamboat General Slocum—which caused around 1,000 fatalities—are memorialized at the cemetery, where 61 unknown victims were buried. [13]

In popular culture

The following films have been shot at the cemetery:

References

  1. ^ a b c "History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery – JuniperCivic.com". www.junipercivic.com. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "All Faith Cemetery". Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  3. ^ "History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery – JuniperCivic.com". www.junipercivic.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "The Pastoral Records of Frederick W. Geissenhainer". New-York Historical Society. September 26, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Gendar, Alison (April 24, 2006). "Vandals' Disrespect Of The Dead. Queens Cemetery Trashed". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "Misleading investigative report leads to misleading conclusions". The Juniper Park Civic Association. June 4, 2016. Archived from the original on February 7, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  7. ^ "Laid to rest in shameful conditions at Queens cemetery". PIX11. December 30, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Sperling, Jonathan (December 20, 2018). "Lack of Funding Leaves Middle Village Cemetery in Grave Condition". Queens Daily Eagle. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  9. ^ Griffin, Allie (September 5, 2019). "Board Members of Non-Profit Cemetery Embezzled Thousands of Dollars". Ridgewood Post. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  10. ^ Scovell, Nell (October 11, 2016). "A Visit to Trump's Graveyard". Esquire. Retrieved April 10, 2023. Were the Trumps nestled between two Adolphs ... ?
  11. ^ Griffin, Allie (September 4, 2019). "Board Members of Non-Profit Cemetery Embezzled Thousands of Dollars". Ridgewood Post. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  12. ^ a b Verified Complaint. Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
  13. ^ a b "Queens, NY - General Slocum Disaster Memorial and Mass Grave". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved April 11, 2023.
  14. ^ "Points Of Interest – All Faith Cemetery". Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  15. ^ "Top Five Creepiest Locations from Rosemary's Baby". On Location Tours. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  16. ^ "Man on a Ledge Film Locations – [otsoNY.com]". onthesetofnewyork.com. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Abigail (2019) – Movie Reviews". movies-reviews.com. Retrieved June 3, 2020.

External links

40°42′44″N 73°53′15″W / 40.71222°N 73.88750°W / 40.71222; -73.88750