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.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Strange Happenings in the Cemetery

Saturday was a nice day for cutting grass in the cemetery, but it was an even better day for picnics and backyard Bar B' Ques. Must be why I was in the cemetery alone.

No I wasn't there to cut grass either; my mission was to ensure we had ample gasoline to run the equipment as the Allentown Community Correction Center would be sending in a group on Sunday to assist us with the maintenance of the cemetery.

I loaded up all of the gas cans and as I was leaving the cemetery using a less traveled road past Sections F' & H' of the cemetery I saw something that seemed out of place as I looked left toward North Street. It didn't register immediately but just a few feet further on I slammed on the brakes and came to an abrupt halt. I backed up until I was parallel to the item that caught my eye; Lo' and behold, there 40 yards or so to my left and just inside the wrought iron fence that runs along North Street (an alley), a sail boat! Yes, a sail boat. Holy Sh_t, what is a sail boat doing in the cemetery?

Everette Carr, Vice President - Uion West End Cemetery Association with the sail boat.

After examing the boat, it looked like it had not seen water in quite a few years, I called the non- emergency number for the Allenton Police Department. They dispatched an officer to the scene. I took this opportuniy to take a number of photographs of the boat. The boat appeared to be between 12 and 14 feet in length and it was quite heavy. I could neither lift it nor pull it.

A short time later Officer Graig Koppel of the Allentown Police arrived at the location by approaching down North Street. To investigate, he had to climb over the fence. He took down the information I provided as to who I was and why I was in the cemetery. We then began to speculate as to how the boat got there and I offered that it might have been stolen and then abandoned. A passerby suggested that it could be a college prank. Officer Koppel informed me that no boats had been reported stolen. He surmised that it probably was left at a home that had been recently sold or rentnd and the new owner/tenant wanted to get rid of it. The cemetery was handy.

He was finished with his report, so Officer Kopel was preparing to leave when I asked what would happen to the boat? He suggested that I have someone tow it away. I wasn't surprised to learn that it was my problem. I thought that maybe the easiest thing would be to plant flowers in it.

Just as Officer Koppel was about to climb back over the fence, we heard someone yell; "That's my boat." A man and woman were approaching from the south side of the cemetery so Officer Koppel and I stood there with our mouths open.

A man by the name of Barry, we learned later, along with his girlfriend approached claiming ownership of the boat. Barry's story in response to Officer Koppel's questions seemed more than a little confusing. Eventually, it turned out that some unknown person left the boat in Barry's garage. Barry lives in the vicinity of 10th and Allen streets. When asked what the boat was doing in the cemetery and how it got there, we were able to determine that when Barry discovered the boat in his garage he called around trying to find out who put it there, no one claimed any knowledge. Then he called a friend that said he would like to have the boat. The friend lived somewhere south of Chew Street.

How he got the boat from his house to the cemetery is somewhat of a mystery. He denies putting it over the fence into the cemetery proper, but... According to Barry, he left the boat outside the cemetery to go fetch a hand dolly to make the last part of the trip easier. When he approached Officer Kopplel and me he had a hand cart. Although Officer Koppel and I were skeptical, he claimed he would be able to transport it the rest o the way using the hand cart. I asked the officer if it would be okay if Barry took it and he stated that it was my decision. Since the cemetery didn't have much use for sail boat without a keel,a tiller and rudder, not to mention tha absence of a mast, sails and rigging. I mean, how do sail a boat in a cemetery without these ssentials?

So, all things considered I felt that if he could remove the boat, that would be a good thing. The last I saw of Barry he was trudging across the cemetery with his girlfriend guiding him in the general direction of Chew Street. When I returned after filling all of our gas cans, neither Barry, his girfriend or the boat wre anywhere in sight.

Another strange episode in the cemetery and fodder for the blog.

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