Of Historical Note: Revived sanctuary
By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The photo of this brick and stone chapel was taken at 106 South St. in Westborough on the grounds of Pine Grove Cemetery. According to historical information posted on the town of Westborough Cemetery Division’s website, the chapel was donated in memory of Jonas A. Stone by his family in 1904. Per this account, the chapel was badly marred in 1938 by the hurricane that struck Westborough. Consequently the building was then used only as a storage facility for a lengthy period. Restoration began in 1987 and, per the posting, is now used for meditation and small services.
The Cemetery Division’s document reveals that the publicly owned and operated Pine Grove Cemetery was established in 1844 on land previously owned by Rev. Ebenezer Parkman. Details from that source clear up why some of the grave markings pre-date the cemetery’s 1844 opening. In keeping with the trend of the day back then, when it was “fashionable” to bury a loved one in a new cemetery, some families moved their relative’s remains from an old cemetery to the new in-vogue burial ground.
According to a public document posted by the Westborough Historical Commission, the commission was responsible for the restoration of the Jonas A. Stone Chapel. Jonas A. Stone was mentioned in Part II of the book, “The history of Westborough, Massachusetts,” by Heman Packard De Forest and Edward Craig Bates, as having maintained a tannery on West Main Street.
Besides the historic chapel, the grounds at Pine Grove Cemetery also include a veteran’s monument, benches and an area dedicated to veterans of all wars. Pine Grove Cemetery is one of the stops residents have traditionally convened at to honor veterans during the town’s annual Memorial Day Parade.
Of Historical Note is a weekly segment of the Community Advocate that features a hidden or well-known landmark from one of our newspaper’s six communities.
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