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March 27, 2008 Arts and Entertainment

The History of Moravian Cemetery.

From: Moravian Cemetery: A Who's Who in Staten Island History.

Authored by Richard L. Simpson - Historian and Tour Guide for Moravian Cemetery.

As early as 1720 a cemetery stood at the corner of Richmond Road and Todt Hill Road. In 1740, the Moravian Church purchased the cemetery. Since that time the cemetery has developed into a  114-acre site of manicured land which includes two fresh-water lakes and three bridges built between 1863 and 1895. It is filled with 72 miles of winding pathways and 11-miles of  roadways. The spring display of azalea, rhododendron, mountain laurel and cherry trees is the largest and most beautiful collection on all Staten Island. The fall foliage rivals states in New England.

Our "Walking Tours" are lead by Richard L. Simpson - a promotor of local history and historian for Moravian Cemetery. Simpson  informs visitors about its' "residents" by telling their real-life stories. Our residents include:  photographer, Alice Austen; pencil manufacturer Eberhard Faber; John Merven Carrere - architect of Staten Island Borough Hall and the NY Public Library Building; and many, many more.

The cemetery holds at least 35 men who served during the Civil War including Gen. Stephen H. Weed, and a memorial to Col. Robert Gould Shaw who headed the 54th Regiment, first Black-American regiment formed in the North.

The Staten Island Advance says "It's better than staying at home reading a history book."

SIMuseum says "Simpson keeps the past in the present by presenting biographical information for hundreds of people who made an impact on Staten Island and elsewhere."

Moravian Cemetery has kept excellent records over the years and is now accepting genealogy requests.

Call to arrange for individual or group tours.

"We can't predict the future, but we can sure tell you about the past." 



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