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People Inc. and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department Host Ceremony of Remembrance at Niagara County Almshouse Cemetery

People Inc. and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department will host a Ceremony of Remembrance to honor the lives of individuals who now rest at Niagara County Almshouse Cemetery on Niagara Street Extension in Lockport. The event will be held on Thursday, October 18, at 2:30 p.m. at 5526 Niagara Street Extension, Lockport. The cemetery is located across the street from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, between Townline Road and Sunset Drive. Former residents of the Niagara County Almshouse will be commemorated with a program, candle lighting, an unveiling of a memorial garden and music. Approximately, 70 names of individuals laid to rest in the cemetery will be read during the program.

 

The cemetery recorded burials from 1830-1912 and estimates that more than 1,400 people who resided at the Niagara County Almshouse are buried there most with anonymous graves. The burial grounds, above the former location of the Almshouse or Poorhouse, were overgrown with vines and bushes.

 

Over the past many months, People Inc. staff and volunteers restored the cemetery. Professors and students from the Buffalo State College Anthropology Department used ground penetrating radar to determine the location of the cemetery.

 

Records will be transcribed from the Niagara County Historian’s Office and the Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., to create a searchable database. Research has shown that the individuals of the Niagara County Almshouse were considered “sick, insane and crippled.” It is one of the first institutions of care that were provided to people with disabilities, said James M. Boles, president of People Inc. The restoration endeavor is an example of the strides that have been made in the treatment of people with disabilities and to acknowledge their history.

 

People Inc. would like to acknowledge the community members that have been instrumental to help initiate this cemetery restoration project: Niagara County Sheriff’s Office; Niagara County Division of Buildings and Grounds; Niagara County Historian’s Office; Niagara County Building and Grounds Commissioner; Niagara County Historical Society; Niagara County Clerk Office; George Maziarz; New York State Senator; Niagara County Legislature; Buffalo State College and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour. Calamar Construction donated their time and equipment and Orleans Monument Company donated the memorial granite bench.

 

This is the fourth cemetery which People Inc. staff and volunteers have helped to restore. In total, approximately 3,500 graves of patients in the Office of Mental Health and New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities system have been touched by the work. Monuments were placed in three previous cemeteries.

 

1219 North Forest Road | P.O. Box 9033 | Williamsville, New York 14231
Phone: 716.817.7400 | Toll Free NY 1.888.7PEOPLE | Fax: 716.634.3889

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