May 05 2014

2014 North Hempstead Community Clean-Up Day of the Townsend Cemetery, East Hills

26 people made history on Saturday, May 3rd, cleaning up the historic Townsend Cemetery in East Hills. Thanks so much!


HowardKroplick's 2014 Townsend Cemetery Clean-Up Day album on Photobucket
The Island Now

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:38 pm

Garbage, debris cleared from historic cemetery BY BILL SAN ANTONIO The Island Now

A group of volunteers on Saturday collected 15 bags of debris from an abandoned cemetery located on the border North Hempstead and Oyster Bay that has become a dumping ground for construction materials and trash since the Village of East Hills annexed the site half a century ago.

The clean-up is the latest in maintenance efforts for Townsend Cemetery, which houses the remains of some of the first families to settle on Long Island. 

“It was amazing how much was accomplished,” said North Hempstead Town Historian Howard Kroplick, an East Hills resident. “Everyone had a great time and it was just a great feeling to finally clean up a historic site in an area that was landlocked and without much access to it without going through people’s properties.”

The Town of North Hempstead last week received a $40,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for restoration to the site and in April Kroplick cleared a walking path through the cemetery, which is located off Northern Boulevard east of Glen Cove Road,

Kroplick led a group of 26 volunteers on Saturday that included North Hempstead Town Clerk Wayne Wink and Councilman Peter Zuckerman, both Democrats from Roslyn, who helped clear debris from trees that had fallen during Superstorm Sandy in addition to other garbage that accumulated at the site over the years. 

During the clean-up, Kroplick said the group uncovered four headstones and two additional footstones than had previously been identified by the Town of North Hempstead. 

There are now 13 headstones and four footstones visible in Townsend Cemetery, Kroplick said.

“There are 34 grave sites there overall, and I think most of the headstones are still there,” Kroplick said. “After Sandy, you couldn’t even see the headstones. They were all covered with branches.”

In a statement, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth lauded the efforts of Kroplick and the other volunteers, saying “The Town is committed to the long-term preservation and restoration of the historic Townsend Cemetery.”

Townsend Cemetery was operational between 1790-1894 and was annexed by the Village of East Hills in 1961 from the Village of Old Brookville. 

According to East Hills village records, the cemetery was cleaned and fenced upon its annexation but fell into disrepair due to confusion over who was responsible for its regular maintenance.

The grave sites are located within the Village of East Hills, but the cemetery is accessible through an entrance located within the Town of Oyster Bay. 

State law requires both towns to maintain the property, but Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Devine said Monday the two towns would discuss the possibility of an intermunicipal agreement wherein North Hempstead would maintain the cemetery and the entrance. 

Devine has said the cemetery’s restoration has not been a priority for Oyster Bay in recent years because the town has dealt with many of the complications that arose during Superstorm Sandy.

“We’re still working on the finer points of an intermunicipal agreement, but we want to be as helpful as we can and we’ve tried to be as helpful as we could be so far,” he said.

North Hempstead spokesman Ryan Mulholland said the town is working toward setting up a meeting with Oyster Bay officials in the next few weeks to discuss long-term maintenance to the site.

“It’s an unusual in that it’s on two towns, but I feel good that North Hempstead is ready to step up and take on the responsibility of cleaning up the cemetery and I’m confident Oyster Bay will be too,” Kroplick said.


GlenCove Patch

Clean-up for Historic Townsend Cemetery in East Hills is Saturday

The cemetery's burying ground is in the Town of North Hempstead; access to the cemetery is in the Town of Oyster Bay.

Posted by Adina Genn (Editor) , May 01, 2014 at 02:58 PM


A community clean-up for the historic Townsend Cemetery in East Hills is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. 

The cemetery is the final resting place for some of Long Island's first settlers. Besides the Willis and Townsend families, other families buried there include the Horsfields, Jacksons and Boerems, according to North Hempstead Historian Howard Kroplick. A total of 34 people were buried there from 1790 to 1894.

The cemetery contains nine known headstones and two footstones, which are currently visible.  It is now being used  as a drop off for landscaping debris, according to the Town of North Hempstead.

North Hempstead recently received a $40,000 FEMA grant to assist with the clean-up and restoration of the cemetery, a private burying ground, on what was formerly the Willis Family farm.

The cemetery and its access road off of Northern Boulevard have been abandoned since the early 1900s.

The cemetery sits on two townships. The burying ground is in the Town of North Hempstead and access to the cemetery is in the Town of Oyster Bay.

When the area was annexed by East Hills in 1961, the land was cleaned and fenced off by the village. However, the property has not been maintained for more than 50 years due to its unknown ownership. In recent years, access to the cemetery has been blocked from its North Hempstead Turnpike entrance by overgrown brush trees. According to New York State law, both towns are responsible for the care and maintenance of the abandoned cemetery.

In April 2014, a walking path was created by Kroplick.

Volunteers wishing to take part in the cleanup should meet at the Northern Boulevard entrance. Cars should park on Cotillion Court, approximately one-half mile east of Glen Cove Road.

For more information about the clean-up, call 311.

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May 10 2014 Howard Kroplick 5:33 PM

From Brian McCarthy:

May 03 2014 brian d mccarthy 12:27 PM I’m reminded of this location where your standing in this picture, Howard. I remember patrolling the rear property for Lilco at the time in this area. That concrete structure your standing next to is what I came across. This area looked out of place, I had no idea it was an old cemetary. I’d like to participate in these cleanups, but I have a physical/neurological condition that’s quite a handicap. Watch out for the poison ivy. -

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