Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Cemetery - More Recent Past

For the first forty years, the Union, and later, the West End Cemeteries operated as for-profit institutions. They relied on burial fees, perpetual Care funds and other operating income to maintain the cemetery premises. For the past 111 years, following the merger of the two cemeteries in 1895, the combined cemetery has been operated as a non-profit. The present 'Union and West End Cemetery Association' was created in 1895. From then until now, various Board of Directors were responsible for the upkeep and Maintenance of the cemetery. In the late 20th Century the cemetery began to suffer from declining burials and all the lots had been sold out shortly after the cemeteries opened, many years before. The economic enviornment also began to decline, and the board members failed to respond adequately to the changing times. Center City Allentown also began to decline as did the neighborhoods surrounding the cemetery. Over the decades, soaring inflation took its toll, maintencnce costs increased and the cemetery's perpetual care funds were depleted.

As indicated earlier, in 1997 the Board of Directors, having run out of funds, resigned their positions and abandoned the cemetery. It soon became a weed infested waste land; a haven for drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes.

Neither the City of Allentown nor Lehigh County wanted to take responsibility for maintaining the premises although they made efforts to organize community clean-ups. Finally in 1999 a new group of residents took on the responsibility as volunteers to manage and maintain the cemetery property. The original incorporated association formed in 1895 continues to function, abet with new members of the Board of Directors, duly approved and installed by the lot owners, or at least those that have been identified and located.

The current Board of Directors consists of the following individuals. These indiviuals not only manage the cemetery, but each and everyone is actively engaged in maintaining the cemetery; performing the many varied tasks associated with a cemetery and it's upkeep.

President: Charles S. Canning
Vice President: Janet E. Hagenauer
Vice President: Everette H. Carr
Treasurer: William R. MacHose
Secretary: Nicolette Clark
Donald J. Hagenauer
Gerald R. Haas
Donald W. Leitzel
Barbara Miller
Donald L. Solt

The board is actively pursuing grants and seeking 'Sustaining Sponsors' to help provide funds for the restoration and routine maintenance of the cemetery. The board is actively searching for additional volunteers to help with required maintenance duties. The City of Allentown and Lehigh County continue to be supportive and provide some assistance when they can. The Allentwon Community Corrections Center provides inmates three Sundays a month for three hours. These individuals earn credit for community service and, during their time in the cemetery, mow grass, weed whack and reset stones.

Although sources for grants changes from time to time, the following have provided support over the years.

The Harry Trexler Trust
The Sylvia Perkin Perpetual Trust
The Century Fund
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvan''ia (Dept of Community and Economic Development)

However, in spite of these resources, the cemetery struggles to meet it's financial needs each year. If you would like to provide financial assistance, forward your donation to the Union and West End Cemetery Association , 618 Greenwood Street, Allentown, PA 18103.

The Union and West End Cemetery Association is registered as a non-profit cemetery association under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(13). All non-restricted donations are tax-deductible.

If you have an interest in volunteering some time to assist the board in the up-keep of the cemetery, please call President Chuck Canning at 610-432-2992. He will be delighted to hear from you.

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