MOUNT CARMEL — A new highway access road and further land purchases and development have again helped to improve the Mount Carmel Cemetery. As part of the improved business strategy, a section of newly purchased land outside the cemetery fence has been developed into a community pet cemetery .

The Mount Carmel Cemetery Co. has served the community since after the Civil War. It is the burial site of many of the Mount Carmel area’s earliest settlers.

The board of directors has been aggressively working to make the Mount Carmel Cemetery a viable option for local citizens well into the future.

In February 2007, the board acquired the former Oak Hill Cemetery, which borders the present holdings. An extensive cleanup in the former Oak Hill section has occurred.

The roof was replaced at the chapel in the Mount Carmel section, and work was done on the interior, including a new heating system, painting, carpeting, additional furniture and a new handicapped accessible front porch. A re-dedication was held by the Mount Carmel Area Ministerium in 2014.

The 105-year-old chapel is now available free for grave site or memorial services. The board is also making available to the public the opportunity to add a memorial in the chapel for departed loved ones. For a $25 donation or more, the memorial includes one line of engraving on a 7/8-by-2 3/4-inch black brass plate which will be mounted on a 28-by-35-inch walnut memorial plaque. All proceeds will be used to defray the cost of maintaining the structure. The Mount Carmel Area Ministerium holds a Memorial Day weekend service each year with the Cemetery Co., giving all collection money to the ministerium’s community outreach programs.

With most of the original cemetery plots sold, the continuing expansion projects keep the cemetery in use for decades to come.

A large percentage of cremations allow many lot owners to use their plots more than once, thus keeping even the older sections of the cemetery available for future use.

Mount Carmel Cemetery is a community burial site with easy access for area citizens.

The cost of a single grave with perpetual care included is $400. Pet cemetery costs are also very reasonable. As in the past 141 years, the board of directors plans to maintain the high standard of service and care.

The Mount Carmel Cemetery was incorporated in June 1878 on a plot in a section of Mount Carmel Township often referred to as “Alaska.” The name stemmed from the neighboring patch of homes and colliery. Several older books still refer to it as the Alaska Cemetery.

The original cemetery land was acquired from Reading Coal and Iron Co. Prior to the cemetery incorporation, the company was already allowing burials on the grounds. Several additions were acquired since that time. The property currently encompasses over 28 acres.

The charter members and board were O.H. Sillyman, president; John Stine, vice president; Thomas Scott, secretary; Charles Wightman, treasurer; Morgan Davis, Richard Curnow, George McFee and Michael Hinkle. Early changes in the board added members D.J. Lewis and John Jefferson. Each member represented some of the earlier churches in the borough. Since then, many dedicated citizens have filled these ranks and assumed the responsibility for the care of this final place of rest.

Directors elected for 2019 are Albert T. Green, president; Edward Kerestes, vice president; Michael Dormer secretary/treasurer; J. Kevin Jones, manager; and Judge Hugh A. Jones, Dennis Stone and Henry Witkoski. Randy Merlo serves as grounds supervisor.

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