Even before St. Vincent’s Cemetery in Clifton Park closed in the 1980s, the grounds had suffered from decades of neglect and vandalism. Over the past 30 years, the cemetery nearly disappeared under the thick weeds and five tons of trash and debris illegal dumped on the grounds. Fortunately, for the last three years, the volunteer-led Friends of St. Vincent’s Cemetery have been slowly taking the cemetery back. Baltimore Heritage recognized their efforts with a 2012 Preservation Award and you can join this group of descendants and Clifton Park neighbors restoration efforts at a cemetery clean-up day this fall.
Friends of St. Vincent Cemetery’s Clean-Up Day
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 9:00am to 1:00pm
St. Vincent’s Cemetery, 2401 N. Rose Street, Baltimore, MD
Wear appropriate work clothes and shoes (no sandals or flip flops!) and bring a
shovel or rake. Water and light snacks will be provided. For questions or to RSVP for the clean-up day, please contact Stephanie Town at 610-368-1910 or Rakeleafs@yahoo.com.
St. Vincent de Paul Church purchased five acres of land for the cemetery from Robert Purviance and Miles White on April 1, 1853. The land was located just outside the city on Mine Bank Lane (now known as Rose Street) just west of Bel Air Road and remained outside the city until the annexation in 1888. On May 19, 1853, Rev. Leonard Ambrose Obermyer blessed the cemetery and led the church in transferring earlier burials from a cemetery the congregation had shared with St. James the Less Church along Harford Road.
Over 2,000 people were buried in the cemetery before 1965 including many Irish, Italian and German Catholic immigrants. With no endowment for maintenance, unfortunately, St. Vincent’s Cemetery suffered from repeated vandalism in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s damaging markers and, most disturbingly, removing bodies from their plots. Ultimately, the church decided to remove all of the existing markers and demolish the mausoleum in an attempt to protect the cemetery further disturbance and desecration.
A group of descendants came together in 2010 and with support from St. Vincent de Paul Church launched their ongoing effort to reclaim the cemetery from the weeds and trash making news in the Baltimore Sun and Catholic Review along the way. Join the Friends of St. Vincent Cemetery in cleaning up this unique historic cemetery in Clifton Park! If you’d like to learn more about conservation and historic cemeteries, join us in Druid Hill Park on October 2 for our tour of the Rogers Buchanan Cemetery with conservation expert Howard Wellman and local historian and Rogers family descendant Ed Johnson.