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Crumbling North Country Cemetery To Be Moved

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Sean Hurley
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Blake Cemetery in Stark.

The town of Stark has finally decided what to do with its failing riverside cemetery: move it, as NHPR’s Sean Hurley reports. 

Chairman of the Cemetery Trustees Tim Emperor says the at-minimum half-million-dollar estimate to shore up Blake Cemetery’s eroding embankment on the Upper Ammonoosuc River was just too costly.

“Closer to a million dollars when you’re all said and done,” Emperor says, “so the trustees felt that the only viable option was to disinter and reinter at a separate location the entire cemetery at one time.”

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Credit Sean Hurley
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Stark's Cemetery Trustees at a recent meeting - from left to right, Dennis Lunn, Tim Emperor, and Chris Chappell

Last Wednesday, town selectmen approved the trustees’ request for $165,000 to relocate Blake Cemetery to a graveyard just up the road.

“That money is coming from the unreserved fund balance so there'll be no impact on the tax rate at all to the citizens,” Emperor says. “The location will be fenced off. And we'll call that the Blake's Cemetery at the Emerson Cemetery, I suppose.”

Viable headstones will be used at Emerson when possible - but broken stones will be buried atop the grave vaults and new memorial markers placed. Excavation work is set to begin in early August and should be done by mid-September. Emperor says a dedication ceremony will follow in the fall or spring.

Sean Hurley lives in Thornton with his wife Lois and his son Sam. An award-winning playwright and radio journalist, his fictional “Atoms, Motion & the Void” podcast has aired nationally on NPR and Sirius & XM Satellite radio. When he isn't writing stories or performing on stage, he likes to run in the White Mountains. He can be reached at shurley@nhpr.org.

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