In Swatara Township, unmarked gravesites and burials from generations ago were lost, but not forgotten.
RETTEW partnered with the Friends of Midland Cemetery, a nonprofit with volunteers who maintain the site, to uncover those historic graves.
Officially founded in 1795, but used many years earlier, Midland Cemetery is the burial site for many slaves, black freemen and women, soldiers of the U.S. Colored Troops from the Civil War, and veterans from both World Wars.
While the main part of the cemetery looks like a typical burial place, with rows of gravestones and closely cut grass, supporters know there’s more than first meets the eye.
Downhill from the main cemetery and into the nearby woods, even more graves lie, some marked, some not.
In a section of the forested area lies Ancestor’s Grove, where the cemetery first began.
In an effort to maintain both the open areas and the original areas of the gravesites, the Friends group asked RETTEW to help identify what’s underground without disturbing any remains.
RETTEW’s subsurface utility engineering group, usually employed to locate underground utilities and related assets during project planning stages, put their skills to use by using ground penetrating radar to identify any remains buried in the wooded area. The work was completed pro bono to support the local community and the important history therein.
Results will enable the Friends of Midland Cemetery to continue to upkeep and maintain the historic site.
Check out this TV news clip to learn more: