Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 1, 2003

Realignments, improvements being done at HT Cemetery

By Julie Yurek

More people are in the Holy Trinity Cemetery in Winsted than living in the city, according to Gene Hausladen, a member of the cemetery committee.

There are about 2,600 people buried on the five acres, compared to 2,094 living residents, which is the population on the city limit signs.

Hausladen and cemetery committee members, Ed and Irene Fasching, Dave and Karen Dawes, and Fr. Paul Wolf have been working the last five years to square away paper work on ownership, transfer of graves, and family lots, Wolf said.

The state and church strictly regulate cemeteries, he added.

For the past two months Hausladen has been busy re-aligning tombstones to create uniformity in the cemetery.

Hausladen's moving inches, not feet, he said. The markers are only moving on the grave and no farther. "It's done very respectfully," he said.

Hausladen is straightening rows that were designed when the cemetery was created, but the rows had since fallen into disarray.

The reason is to "simply get them in line," Wolf said. The committee must be notified before any marker is laid down, he noted.

By getting the markers lined up, it makes it easier to identify where graves are when it comes time for burial and for those who come visit loved ones, Hausladen said.

In the winter with snow, it can be hard to find a marker if it's out of line with the row, Hausladen said.

There are some headstones, footstones, and family markers that can't be moved because of the weight, he said.

Most of the moving is done using leverage and jacks and is done delicately.

Looks can be deceiving when it comes to the flush-set footstones. There are some that are embedded in yards of concrete, Hausladen said. "What you think would be a few hours work turns into a few days."

Eventually, the committee would like to have a map, otherwise known as a kiosk, available at the cemetery entrance and on the Internet, Hausladen said.

"It would be great for those who have moved away to be able to look it up on the Internet," Hausladen said.

"It's about family roots. This is a world where families are spread out all over. They come here to recall their roots," he said. "It gives people a feeling of belonging."

The cemetery's records are all computerized now, Wolf said. Irene Fasching keeps handwritten records too.

The cemetery's first burials occurred in the 1880s, according to Irene Fasching's records. Holy Trinity's first cemetery, Rocky Run, located on Dairy Avenue, had its last burial in the 1890s. There are 42 sites at Rocky Run, Irene Fasching said.

The Faschings know who's related to whom, Hausladen said.

Ed Fasching has been on the committee since 1966, Irene in 1983, Hausladen in 1997, and the Dawes are the most recent members.

Hausladen first learned how to run a computer when he joined the committee, he said.

Eventually a columbarium will be added to the cemetery, possibly located by the flag poles on the east side of the cemetery, Wolf said.

A columbarium is a permanent above-ground tomb that has openings called niches where urns of cremated remains are laid to rest.

It is similar to a mausoleum, and the proposed columbarium would have 96 niches.

The rate of cremation is rising. About 30 percent of people are cremated now.

The columbarium would be constructed on a concrete foundation that meets strict compliance for endurance and longevity. It would be built with pre-cast concrete honeycomb-type interior walls and granite clad roof and outer walls, which includes opening plates for the final burial.

Advantages to above ground burial include less cost than in-ground burial, weather would not affect or delay burials, resourceful use of cemetery acreage, and less maintenance of grounds.

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