Members of the Skaneateles Town Board and the Shepard Settlement Neighborhood Association, as well as local residents, turned out on Labor Day for the ceremony dedicating the new plaque designating Shepard Settlement Cemetery a national historic cemetery.
continued By the turn of the recent century, however, the cemetery started falling into disrepair. In 2001, Karl Eldredge, a former Skaneateles Town Board member, took it upon himself to renovate what once was a rundown, abandoned cemetery.
“This cemetery was a total washout. Stones were broken, I fixed them. There was an overgrowth of trees. I rebuilt the fence, planted fruit trees, and rebuilt the rock wall, it was general maintenance,” said Eldredge. “Now citizens consider this cemetery ‘center of attention,’ its part of our little community.”
Shepard Settlement Cemetery is still an active cemetery averaging two to three burials each year.
William and Barbara Schneider, who donated land to the cemetery in 1992, attended the Labor Day ceremony. The Schneiders will be buried in the historic cemetery, alongside family members who have preceded them. “It means a lot to us because mine and Bill’s families are buried here,” said Barbara Schneider.
For Eldredge, it means a job well done. “A lot of effort got put into getting it done. It’s not a huge cemetery, there’s a few veterans buried here; it’s really nice and it means a lot to me.”
Jason Emerson contributed to this report. Nikki Treleaven is an Eagle Newspapers contributor. She can be reached through the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.