East Hampton Cemetery Nominated for State & National Registers of Historic Places

Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground cemetery in East Hampton Northwest Woods
Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground in East Hampton
NY Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

A cemetery in East Hampton is among 11 properties in the state that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding to State and National Registers of Historic Places. Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement on Monday, December 12.

Located in Northwest Woods, the Van Scoy-Edwards Burying Ground is a small, isolated family burial plot with (according to a state registration form) eight headstones and one family monument dating from 1782-1884.

Now part of the town’s Grassy Hollow Nature Preserve, Hochul’s office said the 2,640-square-foot site is the most significant surviving evidence of the early East Hampton colony, a settlement that flourished as a commercial and shipping center in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Edwards family monument in the Van Scoy-Edwards Burying Ground in East Hampton cemetery in East Hampton Northwest Woods
Edwards family monument in the Van Scoy-Edwards Burying Ground in East HamptonNY Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The burying ground features sandstone, marble, and zinc markers typical of the 19th century and was identified in the recently completed Historic Cemeteries of the Town of East Hampton survey. It is maintained by East Hampton Town’s Land Acquisition and Management Department and is in close proximity to the Abandoned Settlement Trail, often walked by local and visiting hikers.

Made possible by a $5,600 grant from the Preservation League of New York State with the New York State Council on the Arts and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, this survey of historic burying grounds, cemeteries, and gravesites within the Town of East Hampton identified 45 cemeteries dating from approximately 1650 to 1950.

The sites reflect four property types, including communal burying grounds (ca. 1650 to ca. 1950); cemeteries of religious organizations (ca. 1850 to ca. 1950); private, association-owned cemeteries (ca.1880 to ca.1950); and isolated family burying grounds and cemeteries (ca. 1700 to ca. 1900).

Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground cemetery in East Hampton Northwest Woods
Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground in East HamptonNY Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

“The location, variety, and survival of the town’s historic interment sites preserve the history and diversity of the people and generations of local burial practices,” Hochul’s announcement said, pointing out that the Van Scoy Burying Ground is the first property nominated under this survey.

“These nominations showcase New York’s diverse history through preserving important places where New Yorkers have lived, learned, worked and built communities,” Gov. Hochul said of all of Monday’s nominations, selected from throughout the state. “By adding these sites to our historic registers, we are recognizing the critical role that they play in telling our state’s story. I hope these landmarks will inspire, educate and entertain future generations and help connect New Yorkers to our past.”

Along with East Hampton’s Van Scoy-Edwards Burying Ground, the nominations include a 20th-century “piano player” factory in Syracuse, a rare 19th-century stone general store in Millville, and a historic district in Lansingburgh, among several others.

Listing on State and National Registers of Historic Places can assist owners in revitalizing properties, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground cemetery in East Hampton Northwest Woods
Van Scoy Edwards Burying Ground in East HamptonNY Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Commissioner of the NY Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, “State Parks is committed to preserving and promoting the remarkable range of historic resources found throughout New York. Our historic resources can have an integral role in New York’s future, and the incentives that come with State and National Registers recognition, like state and federal tax credits, can help stabilize historic structures as well as encourage investments in our local communities.”

Once recommendations are approved by the Commissioner, who serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archaeology and culture of New York State and the nation.

There are more than 120,000 historic properties throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities, and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored these nominations.

More information, including photos of the nominations and a fully illustrated report on the Van Scoy Burying Ground — prepared by Zachary Studenroth and Kurt Eric Kahofer of the Sag Harbor-based Burying Ground Preservation Group (BGPG) — is available on the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.

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