Alex Butzler completes Eagle Scout project at Jersey Shore Cemetery

PHOTO PROVIDED Boys from Jersey Shore’s BSA Troop 115 standing in front of the tombstones after removing from hillside. With gloves on, ready to go is Alex Butzler, center.

JERSEY SHORE — When towns were settled, people needed to find places to bury their dead. Jersey Shore was no different and cemeteries were established, even before it was officially recognized as Jersey Shore in 1826.

One of the earlier cemeteries was created in 1832 at Richmond Park on Broad Street. This worked well, until over time, the town grew, and a larger cemetery was needed. In 1863, town leaders designated the hill on Locust Street, known as the ‘Mt Pleasant’ hill, as the new cemetery.

For a brief period, the two cemeteries existed, but it was decided in 1912 to move the remains and gravestones from Richmond Park to the Jersey Shore Cemetery on Locust Street. In a hurriedly affair, everything was moved in a three-day time period. As can be expected, it was hectic, and items were misplaced and forgotten.

In 2015, the original gravestones from Richmond Park were located over an embankment in the Jersey Shore Cemetery.

Tina Cooney of The Preservation League of Jersey Shore saw a need to give these gravestones and the original Jersey Shore settlers a dedicated space in the cemetery. Cooney brought this project to the Jersey Shore Boy Scout Troop 115’s attention as possible manpower to move the stones.

Life Scout, Alex Butzler, was in search of an Eagle scout project, and the collaboration between Cooney, Alex Butzler, and the Jersey Shore Cemetery Association (JSCA) was established.

To move forward with the project Alex would need the approval of the PLJS, JSCA, and BSA’s leadership. Multiple presentations and meetings ensued to move the project from an idea to fruition. Cody Shields represented the Jersey Shore Cemetery as Alex’s point person to help with the supply and location logistics.

At the beginning of June, Butzler coordinated a day where volunteers moved gravestones from the embankment to the display site. Also, during this day project, the scouts began work on constructing the display area. Each gravestone was measured, identified, cataloged, and cleaned.

Several weeks later, Butzler coordinated another workday with volunteers from the Jersey Shore High School Boys’ Soccer Team as well as volunteers from the Jersey Shore Preservation League to finish construction of the display and arrange the tombstones.

Visitors are welcome to view these tombstones by visiting the Jersey Shore Cemetery during opening hours at the eastern end of the cemetery near Jersey Shore Elementary School. In addition, there is a dedication ceremony planned for the Fall 2019.

More information can be obtained by visiting the Facebook page of The Preservation League of Jersey Shore.