Woodlawn Cemetery Awaits Makeover
By Jesse King
The Town of New Windsor has received a $330,420 grant from the New York State Department of State Division of Cemeteries for headstone repair at the town-owned Woodlawn Cemetery.
This substantial grant will fully fund the repair of over 450 monuments that are dilapidated or in a state of disrepair. The work on the headstone project is slated to begin this summer and will be completed within 90 days.
“We would like to thank the Division of Cemeteries for authorizing us for such a substantial grant award,” Chief-of-Staff Colin Schmitt said.“Our cemetery is a place of dignity and respect for those who have passed on, a place for families and friends to remember loved ones and those who have built our community. This grant is just another step New Windsor is taking to ensure that Woodlawn Cemetery is a perpetual place of somber remembrance.”
The actively used 74-acre cemetery has been an historic, honorable burial place since the 19th century. Established in 1889, it serves as the final resting place for several Revolutionary War heroes, most notably Major General James Clinton. General Clinton was the first of many of the prestigious Clinton family to be buried at Woodlawn upon his re-interment 85 years after his original burial at the Clinton Family Cemetery. His brother, George Clinton, who served as governor of New York from 1777-1795, was also re-interred at Woodlawn, as was James Clinton’s son, DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York from 1817 to 1822 and 1825 to 1828.
Woodlawn Cemetery is also the burial site of George Clark, the first mayor of Newburgh who signed the corporation papers for the city and served from 1866 to 1870.
Last April New Windsor took over ownership of Woodlawn Cemetery, which is located in the heart of the town bordered by Quassaick, Union and Erie avenues, from a private cemetery association that had fallen into financial struggles. Town officials along with their engineers spent many months removing dead trees and stumps, repairing fencing and grading areas of swampy overgrowth. The paths are used for recreation as well as remembrance. This $330,420 grant is the first in what is hoped to be several grant-funded projects.
Since that time the town has invested in raising the cemetery standards and working to make substantial improvements. They have invested many resources and labor to make the cemetery not only a dignified burial place but also a beautiful, welcoming area for the community to visit and to invite them to explore history in the cemetery. Several weeks ago, members of the Quassaick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution volunteered their time and effort to serve the cemetery when they fully restored and cleaned monuments throughout the cemetery on a blazing hot day.
“This is one of the more significant [projects] in terms of pricing, and it touches every part of the cemetery. It brings members of the community together who would like to be involved in beautification efforts and tree plantings,” Schmitt said.
“New Windsor is proud to be restoring Woodlawn Cemetery to pay proper respect to those who are buried in these hallowed grounds,” Town Supervisor George Green stated.“This is a major grant for us to receive, and we will ensure each and every headstone in need of repair will receive it.”
Pic 1: The Clinton Obelisk stands near the front of the cemetery where members of the historic Clinton family are buried.
Pic 2: A beautiful fountain highlights the cemetery and is visible from Erie Avenue