Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project
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Haring Family Burial Ground, Norwood, New Jersey

Haring Cemetery Restoration Project


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Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project
Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project
Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project
February 8, 2011

In the year 2010 the borough of Norwood, NJ was given a matching grant for the preservation of the Haring Burial Ground which is off of Meadow Lane.

I am sorry to have to report that this grant - which when matched by the borough of Norwood will amount to over $37,000 - will apparently be used for the destruction of this ancient burial ground rather than its preservation, because the landscaping which has been approved will involve planting fast-growing trees along the borders where they will affect the existing stones.

It is an area of one square chain, which means 66 x 66 feet, or .10 acre. It is recorded as an already established burial ground in the deed which sells the surrounding property exclusive of the burial ground in 1785, from when the first Haring settlers lived on a great number of acres on what became Tappan Road. I am fortunate to have an original deed, by which John J. Haring (a five-greats uncle of my family) sold the surrounding property exclusive of the burial ground to his sister Elizabeth Haring and her husband Leendert DeGrauw.

The problem arose when the four homes which encircled the burial ground and had been built in the 1950s were torn down and replaced with huge homes on too-small properties. The Norwood Historical Society worked tirelessly for six years to protect the property from encroachment by the owners of the new houses who covet the small parcel of sacred ground. While there are only seven stones standing at this time, there must be many stones which have been silted over, and undoubtedly the remains of very many persons whose graves are unmarked, who deserve to rest in peace.

The borough of Norwood finally took over the ownership of the burial ground several years ago. We, the family of direct descendants, were advised by a lawyer not to ask for ownership, mostly because of the possibility that we would be liable if someone managed to get hurt.

Years of discussion have gone by in Norwood in an attempt to decide how to protect the burial ground. The borough approved a fence and then reneged on that promise. Most recently an agreement was reached to put a walkway around the border of the burial ground to clearly delineate the area. How long that would endure is one question - and it certainly wouldn't be visible under this winter's snowfall.

But now...in a rush to spend the grant as it seems...a landscaping plan has been submitted and approved by the borough council which proposes putting fast-growing and very large trees on the borders of the 66 x 66 feet. Its acceptance was encouraged because otherwise the borough planned to allow the neighbors use of burial ground property, and I have heard allowances of as much as 10 feet mentioned! THIS IS ABSURD! We had expected that the borough would protect this sacred ground, not give part of it away to clamoring neighbors who knew the cemetery was there when they bought their XXXlarge homes a few years ago. Do you know of any other homeowners who have tax-free use of borough property...or sacred ground?

Large trees have no place in small cemeteries - that seems so obvious as not to need stating. Very deliberately, fast-growing trees have been selected: a Dawn Redwood for heaven's sake, which can go to 200 ft but regularly goes to 75 to 100 feet with a breadth of 15 to 25 feet. Its roots cannot help but threaten Abraham Haring's stone, one of the seven recently restored by expert Bob Carpenter. This restoration, which cost $7000, was funded by a grant from the Bergen County Dept. of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, and also private contributions, and a lot of labor was necessary to restore the stones. The restoration itself deserves respectful consideration. Abraham Jan Haring, who has the oldest stone there, is recorded as being in the militia during the Revolution. Bob Carpenter, by the way, was appalled at hearing of this proposed desecration and potential destruction of the cemetery.

Also proposed are four cryptomeria trees along the eastern border. These trees are touted as being fast-growing evergreens going to 50 - 60 feet, with a breadth of 25 - 30 feet. Trees with a breadth of 25 - 30 feet when the cemetery is 66 feet wide? Their roots would definitely affect the gravestones so lovingly restored, and their ultimate size would totally overwhelm the cemetery.

The neighbors who complained are being appeased by the council. They appear poised to get what they have always wanted: a virtual forest of trees to screen the view of the gravestones from their homes, at no cost to them and with no reason to give up an inch of their lawns. They bought their properties knowing full well that they shared a border with an ancient burial ground, and it is wrong for the borough to spend public funds to appease them. Incidentally, they were the ones who submitted the planting plan that the council accepted.

Large trees have absolutely no place on small burial grounds, period. Shrubs are one thing, but trees have roots that extend as far out as the drip line of the branches and simply should not be allowed. The planting plan is deceptive and unrealistic because it in no way shows the anticipated width/breadth of the trees. For example the slow and low-growing boxwood is shown as taking up more room than the huge cryptomeria trees.

Work to implement this plan is scheduled to begin in June 2011.

Spending the Grant Money!

The first diagram is the planting plan submitted to the Norwood Borough Council; the second is a key to the names of the plants and trees that would be planted. The "cy" represents Leland cypress which will be replaced with something else, since it was learned that these cypress trees are very prone to falling over.

The third diagram is an attempt to be realistic about the sizes of the trees that are contemplated. The plan is not drawn anything like to scale, and the cryptomeria trees have a mature width of 25 - 30 feet. Three would not even fit along the border of a a 66 x 66 foot burial ground. A Dawn Redwood is renowned for its size and quick growth and is totally out of place here.

Some of the $36,000 that the borough plans to spend will be used to install a water line. That seems an unnecessary expense, requiring annual maintenance.

This is to be funded by a $18,063 grant from the 2009 Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund which the borough will match.
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Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project Haring Cemetery, Norwood, New Jersey - Haring Cemetery Restortion Project




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