Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cemetery wall knocked down during post-fire work behind 1st Avenue

A tipster points us to the East Side Outside Community Garden on 11th Street just east of First Avenue.

In recent months, workers have accessed the garden space to gain entry to the rear of 188 First Ave., which suffered a major fire last October.

While the structural stability of No. 188 was reportedly unaffected by the fire, the extension behind the permanently closed Uogashi needed to be removed.

Of concern to the tipster: The stone wall dating to the 1860s that lines the garden has been badly damaged during the work behind the First Avenue buildings...

Preservationists believe this is the western wall of a long-vanished cemetery.

[Map from 1867]

Here's what the wall looked like a few years ago...

The Village Preservation wrote about this cemetery back in 2013 (at the time, they were trying to spare part of the property from what became the luxury condoplex Steiner East Village).

While the cemetery opened in 1833, where the wall is located did not become the western boundary of the cemetery until the 1860s, and thus there may not have been a wall here prior to then. The cemetery remained on this site until 1909, so the wall also could have been built as late as the first years of the last century.

After the cemetery closed in 1909, the land was divided up and much of it sold. The eastern section became Mary Help of Christians Church (1917) and School (1925)

The school and church were demolished in 2013.

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