Thursday, December 29, 2016

Woodland Cemetery

This beautiful cemetery was founded 1855 as the "West Newark Cemetery". It was designed in a Garden style, which at the time was fairly uncommon in the region.

The population of west Newark at the time was mostly German. The cemetery is only a few blocks from the site of the St. Peter's Church, which was built shortly after the cemetery and catered specifically to the Roman Catholic Germans. Encompassing thirty six and a half acres, the burial ground was a major landmark in the community. Between 1873 and 1881 a beautiful brownstone gatehouse was built at the corner of Rose & Brenner streets, where the main entrance to the property sat.

As the decades passed the grounds saw over 80,000 burials. There were people off all classes, creeds, and race buried here, as well as veterans and famous former Newark residents. The cemetery managed to survive beyond the infamous Newark riots, but not for terribly long. Burial activity eventually began to slow down in the late 1980's.

By the 2000's, the cemetery had been largely neglected. A small patch of the property along S. 10th street  was maintained to attract potential future burials. The portions of the property tucked into the neighborhoods remained overgrown and abandoned. The iron fencing was stolen, headstones were toppled over, and the mausoleums were burglarized. With no income being generated, the cemetery could do little but continue to waste away.
In the mid 2010's an activist group became vocal in their charge to clean up the cemetery. The group clocked countless volunteer hours cleaning up the property, giving tours, and have spoken out about how integral the property is for the city. The group feels that using the remaining free land as burial space will doom the already damaged property. They argue that building a crematorium is the best option for a sustainable future. One of their main goals is to raise enough money to restore as many of the historical features as they can.


Hopefully the cemetery will get the crematorium and won't be lost to time like so many other former vestiges of Newark's past.


  1. Wow lots of new stuff yea!

  2. Your site is incredible. I am a photographer working on a project documenting the history of abandoned places through my photos and research. I was wondering if you could email me so we could talk. I'm looking to work with other photographers and bloggers and based on your photos, research, narratives and location information, you would be perfect. Let me know if you're interested!

  3. Heads up TFPNJ Motts forum is on its last legs. It was down for a few days and Motts fixed it for folks who want to exchange contact info and to save stuff they have on there. He posted in the latest gallery that he is unsure if he is going to just let it go or rekerjigger it. He made mention of possibly overhauling it this summer. Either way heads up and check out for stuff you may want to save.