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Plans to move cemetery OK'd

April 20, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously adopted an agreement that includes plans to disinter bodies in a 19th-century cemetery within the boundaries of what will be the Lund Landfill.

The county plans to exhume the bodies and rebury them on another site on landfill property.

It is believed that 40 to 50 bodies were buried in the cemetery from 1825 to 1856.

A memorial will be placed near the reburied bodies, Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said. The memorial and new graves probably will be placed in the west section of the landfill, he said.

A landfill cell eventually will be constructed on the current site of the cemetery, which is about 60 by 72.5 feet.

Had the county opted to work around the cemetery, which is in a major depression, the landfill's lifespan would have been reduced from 80 years to about 50 to 55 years, Rohrer said.

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The agreement approved Tuesday is between the county, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation

Finalization of the agreement was required to obtain Corps of Engineers permits for the landfill.

The 425-acre Lund Landfill is scheduled to open in about 20 months, at about the same time the Resh Sanitary Landfill is expected to run out of room. The property is in a bend of the Conococheague Creek near Resh.

The agreement requires the county to draft an archaeological data recovery plan by June 2001 and implement it by June 2003.

The county used consultants in 1996 to do an archaeological investigation of the landfill property. The written archaeological report by Joseph Hopkins Associates Inc. of Baltimore said most of the identified gravestones were from three German-American families, Wachtel, Stine and Troup.

The county will ask consultants to develop the recovery plan, which includes determining how many bodies are buried in the cemetery, Rohrer said. The county believes that under the existing contract, no additional money will have to be paid to the consultants for that work, he said.

Many of the graves are in poor condition and it is difficult to tell exactly how many bodies and grave markers are in the cemetery, he said.

The cemetery is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

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