Baby Memorial-- History & Photos
The tiniest of infant bodies are buried at Greenwood Cemetery with no markers or identification of any kind. Throughout the world, there was a time when stillborn babies were quickly taken away and buried in church or community cemeteries, and even the mothers were not told the location. Notes in Greenwood's official ledger refer to babies buried in unmarked graves from 1891 through WWII, but the practice continued worldwide for much longer. The cemetery area at Greenwood where these babies were mostly buried is also noted in the ledger. Mike Leamy says that one of the ‘baby blocks’ has a plethora of concrete stones that are now mostly illegible.
He has to spend time on his knees attempting to read what is left of the actual inscriptions and he then compares the ‘stones’ to the names in the ledger, in case a concrete temporary marker was placed but the location was overlooked in the records. Mike remarks that he can’t tell whether the infant was a boy or a girl.
Mike continues, "then there are those in the aisles with no record at all. In checking the ground, there are depressions where small graves have settled over the decades, and it appears the wee ones were crowded in, with more in the unrecorded rows than in the recorded ones."
In addition to the unknown number of babies buried in hidden graves, there are over 40 infants that are listed in the ledger but without a specific grave location, often listed as "Baby" along with a surname. These babies cannot be entered into modern digital records because they have no known specific grave location. With a common monument to commemorate them, there will be a 'location' and so they will be represented on updated official records.
The Friends of Astoria Greenwood Cemetery proposed a monument to the babies that would commemorate them so that they will not be lost to the records and that era will also be recognized as part of the history of Greenwood Cemetery.
The goal was to raise $3500 by September 15, 2022 for this special project but, remarkably, by August 17 the goal had already been met. This is clearly a project that resonates with the community. Please visit the Friends of Astoria Greenwood Cemetery website for more information about how you can help protect and preserve the future of Greenwood Cemetery.
The images above are from the day in November, 2022 that OM Stone installed the finished monument onto the granite panel Mike Leamy already placed in preparation.
The "Donate Here' link will take you to the secure Cornerstone Payment page on the Friends of Astoria Greenwood Cemetery site where you may enter any amount for your tax-deductible donation. Please use the drop-down menu and select either 'Special Project' or 'General Account'. We thank you for your generous donation!