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.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The Cemetery Past

Items included in this post were taken from the minutes of board meetings over the years and reflect the circumstances and instances that took place at that time and place.

This following represents a resolution adopted by the association in the late 1890's:

Section 9. All graves shall be five feet in depth, except for children under the age of ten years, when they shall not be less than four feet deep.
Section 10. Foundation for all monuments, head stones and the like shall be of stone, laid in cement or concrete. They must be of the same size as the base to be placed thereon and must be four feet deep for mounuments and at least 21/4 feet for head and foot stones, and rest on the covering of the coffin. If made by the association the cost shall be the prevailing charge per cubic foot for such foundation.
For walled graves:
Under 1 year$4.00
2 to 4 years 5.00
4 to 6 years 6.00
6 to 8 years 7.00
8 to 10 years 11.00
10 to 12 years 12.00
Over 12 years 13.00
Brick bottom and 4 inch wall to two courses above coffin. Cementing sides, $1. Foundation, headstones and footstones, 8 inches, $1.50; 10 inches, $2; 12 inches, $2.50.
9 inch walled graves, 40 per cent. addditional.
For box graves:
Under 1 year $1.00
1 to 3 years 1.50
3 to 6 years 1.75
6 to 9 years 2.00
9 to 11 years 2.50
Over 11 years 2.00

Ground in single grave lot for adults, $3; ground in single grave lot for children, same as digging.

The Board of Directors first considered fencing in the combined cemetery in the year 1901.

Board of Directors Minutes, june 6, 1901

A special meeting for the committee on fence to report proposals, for the building of a fence along 10th and Chew Streets, having selected pattern no. 522 of the Smith Mfg. Co., Waynesboro, Pa. To wit, 5/8" round picket, rail 7/16 x 1 /2", 4 ft. high, no. 3 rails, pickets to be 2 1/2", apart from center, to include no. 3 walking and two driving gates, with pipe posts not less than 8" sq., and walking gates not less than 5" sq., the driving gates to be arched...no of feet required about 1,700.

At an adjourned meeting of the Cemetery Board held July 9, 1901, the decision for erecting a fence along Chew Street and 10th Street was again considered and the contract was awarded to F. N. Peter & Bro., style no. 28, by the following specification. Essentially the same as stated by the Smith Mfg. Co., except the pickets would be 3 1/2 " apart and the drive gates to have a nice ornamental arch, with letters as selected, cut out, and all single and double gates to have scrollwork on top, made of good material, erected complete and fastened with stones, cement and sand, with one coat black paint at shop and second coat of paint at your place when fence is erected. The fence is 1,756 1/2 ft. at $1.12 per lineal foot all complete, making the cost of the fence $1.967.28 net.

The contract was awarded to F. N. Peter & Bro. at a regular meeting held September 2, 1901 stipulating that it should be completed by November 1st of that year. However, at the meeting on November 4th, the minutes reflect that the F. N. Peter & Bro. foundry was destroyed by fire before they entered into the contract. But they agreed to extend the contract with copletion of the fence by May 20, 1902.

In 1904, the City of Allentown of Allentown attempted to hold the cemetery association responsible for paving a public thoroughfare.

At a regular meeting of the board held on July 11, 1904, the board discussed a notice received from the City of Allentown that the association would have to pay for asphalting of Chew Street from 10th to 12th.

The city had notified the cemetery association that they would be responsible for covering the cost of asphalting Chew Street from 10th to 12th Street. The board did not believe it was their responsibility and requested an attorney to look into the matter. When a lengthy report was given by Attorney John Rupp that "public property used for public purposes shall not be subject to tax claims or municipal clains, and actual places of worship, places of burial not used or held for public or corporate profit, and institutions of purely public charity, shall not be subject to tax or municipal claims except...sewer connections...paving of footways in front thereof." It was determined that the cemetery association was not responsible for asphalting the public street.

Curbs and sidewalks were on the agenda in 1904-1905.

The association moved to curb Chew Street from 10th to 12th Street and 12th Street from Chew to Liberty Street and received bids at a special meeting held July 13, 1904. The contract was awarded to Jpseph P. Snyder for cement curbing at 50 cents per linear foot.

On September 14, 1904, bids were received to pave a sidewalk on Shew Street from 10th to 12th, which was awarded to Hohn M. Schondt at 121/2 cents per foot amounting to $697.28. The cost for the curbing for 2,120 feet was $1,060.

In July of 1905, the directors considered curbing Liberty Street and at the September 5, 1905, regular meeting awarded the contract to Mr. O. S. Hoch at 40 cents per foot for 369 feet.

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