Old Cemetery in Deplorable State
Irish Echo, Sat. Dec 6, 1975
The American Irish Cultural Project issued the following statement last week:
We would like to bring to public attention the deplorable state of
desecration into which Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cemetery has fallen.
The cemetery is located at 21st St and 26th Ave in Astoria, Queens
just south of the Triboro Bridge.
The Cemetery dates from the period of immigration immediately following
the famine of 1846-48.
Most of the graves are those of local settlers
(Astoria was a farming community in the 19th century)
who had emigrated from Meath, Westmeath, Laois, Louth, Cavan,
Tyrone, Galway, Offaly, Tipperary, and other areas illegible at the
time of the 1935 survey--some of the counties that were hardest hit
by the famine.
As long ago as the 1935 survey (available from the
Queens Borough President's Office and the
Queens County Historical Society)
the cemetery had already fallen into disrepair.
At one time the cemetery was the burial ground for the
parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, now located
three blocks away at 23-25 Newtown Ave.
The church claims it does not have title to the property.
Meanwhile the gates of the cemetery remain open and the vandalism goes
on day and night.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, through their attorneys are currently
engaged in a title search--apparently ownership reverts back to
one or more of the families whose members are buried in the cemetery.
After title of the property is determined and the necessary agreements
are signed it is the intention of the church to turn the
cemetery over to a developer.
It is presumed that the cemetery will then be cleared, bulldozed
and developed for commercial use.
The American Irish cultural Project feels that Mt. Carmel Cemetery has
Very strong cultural and historical ties.
It is a record all by itself of perhaps the most crucial--almost fatal--
historical series of events in the last 400 years of Irish history:
that history is written in the stones where they still stand.
The American Irish Cultural Project would like to see Mt Carmel
restored as a cemetery and as a memorial park to Irish immigration,
to the Irish contribution to America and as a remembrance of the racial
genocide that forced the Irish from their townlands.
If you can help us please contact the American Irish Cultural Project
at Box 524, 445 W 59th St, New York, N.Y. 10019.