YORK — The Yorkville Historical Society hosted several hundred people on a tour of historic Rose Hill Cemetery Saturday as it dedicated a new fence to mark the site.
York Mayor Eddie Lee, who led a dedication of a new fence at the front of Rose Hill before the group’s Stories of the Stones cemetery tour, said the cemetery “pays tribute to the tested values and things that make us the community we are.”
Members of the society, who wanted to give the cemetery a facelift, spent $11,000 earlier this year on a project to replace the chain-link fence at the front of the cemetery. The new fence has spaced brick pillars, joined by an aluminum fence with a wrought-iron look.
The first burial sites at the Liberty Street cemetery, in the center of the city’s historic district, date to 1821. In 1875, the Yorkville Cemetery Association was created to operate and care for the cemetery.
The association still continues, operating with donations, and the cemetery, enlarged in the late 1800s, still serves as a community burial ground.
Gary Gross, a historical society member and retired contractor who oversaw the project, said the chain-link fence was an eyesore, and that it violated accepted guidelines for what is appropriate in a historic area.
Gross said the new fence is in keeping with the historic nature of the cemetery. He said there are remnants of wrought-iron fences surrounding certain gravesites, and there is a wrought-iron gateway leading into the cemetery. The new fence links to the gateway.
Because of the cost of the project, he said, the new fence crosses the front of the cemetery rather than extending all the way around.
The cemetery tour has been presented every two years since 2003, said tour chairman Ken Spaulding. The society researched and told the stories of 10 individuals or family groups buried in the cemetery. The tour aims to educate people about the community’s past, he said.
Jennifer Becknell • 803-329-4077