Preserving history – QNS.com

Preserving history

Since 1999, Cate Ludlam, an advocate for Prospect Cemetery in Jamaica, has been working tirelessly with Karen Ansis from the New York Landmark Conservancy and Peter Engelbrecht from the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation to preserve the oldest cemetery in the city.
As of a few years ago, the Prospect Cemetery Association, the New York Landmark Association and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation raised $632,000 to be used for the restoration of the Chapel of the Sisters, which was built in Prospect Cemetery around 1857 by Nicholas Ludlum, an ancestor to Ludlam. “It’s a gem of a building,” she said. “It can only add to the value of the community.”
And just last week, a $500,000 grant was awarded by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the revitalization of Prospect Cemetery, which will be used for ground work and marker restoration.
“Prospect Cemetery is a place where people can truly experience the history of Queens,” said Senator Malcolm Smith. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the New York Landmarks Conservancy and Prospect Cemetery Association joined hands to sponsor the grant and applied for it roughly six months ago. The money will be provided from the State Environmental Protection Fund.
The cemetery was first established in 1668, and was declared a city landmark in 1977.
Interred there are 53 Revolutionary War heroes, 43 Civil War veterans, three Spanish American War veterans, and many prominent Long Island families. This includes Egbert Benson, founder and first president of the New York Historical Society, who Ludlam describes as, “a contemporary friend who worked with John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and Rufus King. He was an important figure in the creation of this country.”
Ludlam firmly believes that Prospect Cemetery is a valuable part of United States history. When asked why its preservation was so important to her, Ludlam replied, “I think of those who are buried here who died serving our country to give us the freedoms we have today. It amazes me what the men, women, and children who were pioneers of this country endured. Because of what they did, and who they were, this cemetery needs to be not only preserved, but respected.”

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