City of New Berlin takes over cemetery operations

The city of New Berlin is taking over the New Berlin Center Cemetery, located at the intersection of West Lawnsdale Road and West National Avenue.

 

According to city documents, the city will receive $5,662.92 from the NB Centre Cemetery Association to assist with the costs of insurance and maintenance of the cemetery.

According to Mayor Dave Ament, people have been maintaining the cemetery for years and are unable to physically do so anymore.

“Once a cemetery is abandoned, if it’s abandoned for five years ... the city is required to maintain it by state statutes,” Ament said. “Rather than waiting for it to deteriorate over the five years, we decided to take over it now to make sure the maintenance is done regularly.”

Ament said the Pioneer Cemetery, or the German Evangelical and Protestant Church Cemetery, had been abandoned for five years before the city had taken it over, and it had gotten “pretty bad” due to having no maintenance in that time.

Ament said the cemeteries have historical significance, including having the founders of the city buried there. Ament said he’s happy the city could pick them up before they become too deteriorated, although they still have a lot of work to do to fix them up.

Sue Hemmen, secretary of publicity and programs for the New Berlin Historical Society and also a member of the New Berlin Landmarks Commission, said they created a new association for the New Berlin Center Cemetery. The association was created to legally make the transition of private ownership over to the city.

“The city takes such good care (of the cemeteries),” Hemmen said. “We have two other old ones on Racine Avenue that they maintain. That’s all of the historic ones in town.”

Hemmen said she’s very appreciative that the city keeps the city and its cemeteries in good shape.

She said she wrote the history of the New Berlin Center Cemetery, which is available on the city’s website. The cemetery was established and donated by Publius Virgil Monroe sometime around 1840. The families of many of the first New Berlin settlers are buried there.

“As you walk these hallowed grounds, you will find names such as Boyd, Meidenbauer, Winton, Kilips, Monroe, Church, Korn and Harris,” the historical description includes. “These people were pioneer aldermen, shopkeepers, the city’s first teacher, large land owners, a State Assemblyman and a murder victim … Veterans from the Spanish-American War, the Korean War and WWI are buried here; along with, most numerously, the seven veterans from the Civil War.”

While Hemmen said in the past she has provided historical tours of the cemetery, she is uncertain about doing so again in the future.

For more information about the cemetery, visit

https://www.newberlin.org/724/New-Berlin-Center-Cemetery.