Pennsville Cemetery revitalization is Boy Scout Eagle project.
Recent Beautification of a Treasure
Lehigh Township has a rich history, with a lot of unique little areas tucked into that history.
One such tucked-away treasure is the small Pennsville Cemetery, located at 540 Walnut Drive. Its deep Old German origins are evidenced in a dedication stone in the fence line where the accompanying church once stood. Hardly visible and significantly aged since the 1800's, the Old German script was best translated to "Peace Church of the Redeemed Brothers in Christ" by a professor specializing in Old German. This historic cemetery remained undisturbed as Lehigh Township built the two-room Pennsville schoolhouse directly beside it around 1908. The schoolhouse still remains as a private residence.
Today, the quaint cemetery sits back off the road and one might not even notice it as you drive by on Walnut Drive, 'down the road a piece' from the Pennsville Hotel. Someone stopping to walk back to the old tombstones would find names such as Kleppinger, Easterday, Oplinger, etc. Two large old sweeping sugar maples stand in the middle of the cemetery, shading this quiet resting place. Eastern red cedars dot the corners.
The cemetery has not gone unnoticed however. This past summer, Luke Cantrel of 830 South Oaks Road, Moore Township, thought it would be a good idea and worthwhile project to protect and beautify the old cemetery from encroachment. Luke sought out the Pennsville Cemetery Association and caretaker, Alton Ziegenfuss of Wood Drive, Walnutport, to ask if he could work on this for his Eagle Scout project. Luke is a member of Troop 50, based in Moorestown.
Plans were soon developed for constructing a wooden split rail fence in the front and at the rear border of the cemetery. Plans were made to clear debris, remove an overgrown brick garden and create a new flowerbed. Also included in the plan was to dig out overgrown bushes, cut down dead trees and plant a new yellow Elizabeth Magnolia tree. The Pennsville Cemetery Association members, Judy Dieter and Alton Ziegenfuss, approved Luke's plan.
Many people from the community offered to help. The TeenWorks program, sponsored by Lehigh Valley Labor Unions, was a huge help and provided significant funding for the project. Bruce Miller Jr. of BetterScapes Landscaping, Danielsville, came in one afternoon and took down the dead trees for free. Point Phillips Perennials helped with perennial choices and Moyer Lumber of Bethlehem provided a good discount on the lumber. Fellow scouts from Troop 50, former Scout Master Jim Chuss, and family friends all pitched in. Even Alton, at age 86, came out to check on the project and picked up sticks while the group worked.
You might think that area residents, with their busy lives, wouldn't care about the old cemetery, but Luke found that wasn't true. As the boys worked on the fence near the road, many people stopped as they drove by. Some commented on how nice it looked , but most just wanted to express their appreciation.
We want to thank Luke for all his hard work and effort, and also the community for caring about this little gem tucked away in Lehigh Township.