The Mount Calvary Cemetery Heritage Foundation
The Mount Calvary Heritage Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation formed to assist in the conservation of the natural beauty, historic integrity and cultural heritage of Mount Calvary Cemetery in Cheektowaga, NY, a Buffalo suburb. In addition, it serves to increase public knowledge, awareness and appreciation of the unique cultural, historic and architectural resources of Mount Calvary Cemetery and the community it serves.
Heritage Foundation programs center on:
- Architectural Preservation and Restoration
The Mount Calvary Cemetery Heritage Foundation is a permanent community endowment built through gifts and organizations that are committed to the heritage and future of the region. The Foundation offers donors great flexibility, the most favorable tax benefits allowed under the law, and the opportunity to benefit Western New York for generations to come. Each of the initiatives is designed as a tribute to past generations, serve local families and salute our populations of the future.
The community is invited to support the Heritage Foundation through contributions that will preserve and acknowledge the best the community has to offer. Tax-deductible donations can be made as memorial gifts, tribute to honor a special person or occasion, or as a general contribution. For further information, call (716) 892-6600.
Architectural Preservation and Restoration
In addition to offices, permanent and temporary display areas, a theater and meeting room are planned. A dedicated area for computer terminals for genealogical research is incorporated. Restoration and renovation costs are estimated at $750,000.
Mount Calvary cemeteries are home to many monuments and features of archetectual and historical significance. It is in many ways an outdoor museum. The Foundation seeks to increase the public awareness of the architectural and historical treasures, their importance to the area, and preservation/restoration where needed. Two examples are St. Ann's Chapel and the Shrine of the Crucifixion.
Statue maintenance and restoration is time consuming and can be expensive. Specific project areas are available for underwriting. These range from detailed repair and cleaning by artisans to education programs for school program visits so children can take headstone rubbings and trace family histories.
Once complete, the Heritage Center will house items reflecting the tremendous ethnic heritage that helped shape Buffalo and its surrounding community. Residents formed special attachments to neighborhood churches, taverns, and local landmarks. Waves of immigrants relocated to the Western New York area bringing with them their music, craftsmanship, food and architecture representing the world.
To this day, the Buffalo area maintains much of its "ethnic stratification." South Buffalo is recognizably Irish, west Buffalo has a strong Italian culture, east Buffalo houses much of the African-American population, and the Polish population still remains in the Broadway-Fillmore District and Cheektowaga. Hispanics gather on the lower west side of the City to be among family and friends, while the German population founded many significant Buffalo suburbs including Lancaster, West Seneca, Eggertsville and Snyder.
The cemetery properties of Mount Calvary and other adjacent cemeteries represent a melting pot of world culture. Each ethnicity that defines Western New York is a part of these historic properties; significant leaders and thinkers from every culture are buried at Mount Calvary in unity. The Heritage Center will help visitors understand the origins of social division, the unique cultures that each ethnicity has to offer, the overall importance of integration for the future.
When opened, the Heritage Center will serve as a landmark where people can meet and learn. It will be a beacon shining as a cultural focus and the center of expertise and knowledge. It will enhance the quality of people's lives and play a key role in developing a sense of identity.
Mount Calvary prides itself on some of the most beautiful landscaping and managed grounds in the area. It is an unintentional well kept secret. The Heritage Foundation wants to return the cemetery to its stature at the turn of the century when cemeteries were a social gathering place.
Mount Calvary has set aside property for just such a purpose. However funding is needed to develop community friendly spaces. The Foundation plans to turn 50 acres of open land at Pine Lawn Cemetery (bordered by Genesee Street and Harlem Road) into park like settings as well as establish wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, and arboretum area. Mount Calvary already hosts a horticultural center at Pine Lawn that will serve as a resource for environmental enhancement.
In addition to the general Environment fund, the Foundation has an adoption program whereby patrons can donate money designated specifically to adopt an area, tree or plant, or features. Seating areas with benches, memorial gazebos, flower gardens, and other park-like elements are incorporated in design plans and are available as tributes to individuals and organizations.