POUND RIDGE, N.Y. — Anyone who thinks cemeteries are morbid should come check out “Cemeteries of Pound Ridge," a fascinating and educational exhibit at the Pound Ridge Museum.
Pound Ridge Historical Society President Joyce Butterfield began work on the exhibit in January and opened it in April. She said she loved researching the old grave sites and finding out the who’s who of historical Pound Ridge.
“I don’t think they’re morbid — they tell a story,” she said.
This type of research can be somewhat addictive, she added. “You just can’t stop until you find the answer. You have to solve the mystery.”
Butterfield said there are 18 cemeteries in Pound Ridge today, a number that was originally higher, since some of the remains were moved to join relatives in family plots in other towns.
Burial Hill, the town’s official cemetery and also its largest, is the subject of the exhibit. Tombstone records only up until the 1940s have been released to the public, so she created the exhibit using that earlier section of the cemetery.
Butterfield said she used a host of resources in her work on “Cemeteries of Pound Ridge,” including “God’s Country” by Jay Harris, a 1971 book on the history of Pound Ridge; Ancestry.com; the Pound Ridge Garden Club Cemetery Booklet; the Historical Society’s collections; and “Historical Landmark Houses of Pound Ridge,” among others.
She also had the help of guest curator Patrick Raftery, librarian for the Westchester County Historical Society, consulting his exhaustive compendium of county graveyards.
For his book “Cemeteries of Westchester,” “He must have looked at every single one of the graveyards in Westchester County,” she said, laughing.
Butterfield said the exhibit, which has large photographic reproductions of headstones and explanations of their inscriptions, is a rich resource for the community. The Historical Society invited a group of of 90 fifth-graders from Pound Ridge Elementary School to visit the exhibit and do some grave rubbings on an old headstone acquired by the museum.
The exhibit closes on Dec. 2. Visitors are invited to donate any amount for admission.