The Jericho Turnpike, cutting east-west through Long Island, is pretty much a wasteland of strip malls, corporate office parks, and fast food chains…
…and the last place you’d expect to find anything of historical or cultural value is in the parking lot of a Home Depot.
I think that’s what makes this place so great.
Surrounded on all four sides by the Home Depot parking lot (also servicing the adjacent Modell’s and Old Navy), is this grouping of trees surrounded by a chain link fence…And if you actually take the time to look closer…
You’ll find what has to be the only 19th-century graveyard in the United States located in a Home Depot parking lot.
I first read about this on the excellent roadside Americana website, RoadsideAmerica.com, a few years ago, but only had the chance to see it for myself the other day…
“Surreal” is really the only word you can use to describe looking at graves of guys who died in the 1850′s…while a Home Depot shopper pushes his orange cart to his truck in the background.
This was once the family cemetery for the Burr Family, who first came to the United States in 1630 and arrived in Long Island in 1656, situating their family farm on land now owned by Home Depot. The cemetery was in use until about 1880. You can see it just below the purple dot:
It blows my mind that this has somehow survived, the only indicator that the area was once all farmland, and harkening back to a time when families might bury their dead on their own property.
This might be due to the fact that the farmland became an airfield during World War I, known as Brindley Field. Perhaps it was given special treatment during that time?
Though it’s in pretty bad shape, recent flag plantings show that someone still cares about the cemetery:
I really, really hope that Home Depot has a ghost problem.