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.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Trees Sometimes Come Down

Earlier this summer, there was a tree in the West End portion of the cemetery, near 12th Street, that began to list. The tree was well over a hundred years old and although still leafing, appeared to be rotting from below the ground and was no longer capable of bearing its own weight.

It was just a matter of time until the tree could no longer defy gravity and would come down. There was little that could be done. The cemetery association had no money to pay for this trees removal. All that could be done was to wait and hope that it would do little damage when it eventually came down.

The cemetery has a plan for diseased tree removal. The endangered trees have been identified and their removal has been prioritized and, as money is available, they will be removed. Did you know that it cost from $2,500 to $3,000 to take down a tree of this size and age? We are usually able to obtain some grant monies that allow us to take down one or two trees a year. But we have at least six trees that need to come down now!

Well, as expected, the tree in question came down on its own one windy stormy night. It lay where it fell. Cemetery volunteers eventually were able to clean up some of the smaller limbs using a small, but efficient chain saw. But we needed help with the larger trunk.

As can be seen in the above photographs, the tree had rotted out at the roots which could no longer support the tree.

Help came in the form of the Allentown City Parks Department. Joe McDermott, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, set up a meeting between representatives of the cemetery society and Fran Dougherty, Managing Director for the City of Allentown, and Superintendent of Parks for the City, John Faslka. Subsequently, City crews came into the cemetery and removed what was left of the tree. The cemetery association is grateful to the City of Allentown for coming to our rescue. This action shows that a new spirit of cooperation between the cemetery association and the current administration of the City of Allentown is in place. The cemetery association is grateful for the city's help.

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