When I was a child, cemeteries always held a sense of somber grandeur to me. The massive marble and granite monuments, the Celtic crosses, the small lamb statues indicating the grave of a child – they all told a story that I wanted to know.
Today, as an adult on the far side of childhood, I live in Nelson, and I am privileged to know many of the stories associated with the people buried in our graveyards. I am also fortunate to serve as the chair of the Nelson Cemetery Board as we take the first steps toward building a new cemetery for the town.
Why a new cemetery? Where will it be built? How much will it cost? These are all excellent questions that deserve a response. We need a new cemetery because, quite frankly, we are out of room in our three existing cemeteries. The “old” cemetery, located just up the hill from Nelson village, has been full for many years; the Munsonville cemetery on old Route 9 is also full. The “new” Nelson Cemetery abutting the “old” cemetery has at most six unsold graves; obviously, the situation is serious.
The new cemetery
Where will the new cemetery be built? Fortunately, many years ago one of my cemetery board predecessors had the foresight to anticipate this need, and approached the late Henry Fuller about donating a piece of land, and Mr. Fuller did so. Located directly across Lead Mine Road from the two existing Nelson village cemeteries, the five acre piece includes an open field that is perfect for the town’s needs. The current cemetery board has already met with a cemetery design consultant, and will present a proposal to the town when we have completed our studies.
How much will it cost? We don’t know yet. The cemetery board is making every effort to minimize the cost to the town by using town resources and volunteer help to move the project forward. We hope to present a warrant article to the town this March, at which time we should have a clearer sense of the total cost of the cemetery project.
As always, the Nelson Cemetery Board welcomes your ideas and input. Besides me, our board includes Harry Flanagan, Linda Cates, Al Stoops and Laurie Redfern-Smith. Please feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to answer your questions. In the meantime, take a few minutes to stroll through our beautiful cemeteries, read the names on the headstones, and appreciate the stories that these graves tell us.
Elaine is chair of the Cemetery Board, and can be reached at 603-847-9019.