Kendall, N.Y.— For many people in the town of Kendall, the Beechwood Cemetery along Woodchuck Alley is hallowed ground. The first grave dates back to 1828 and it is the final resting place for hundreds of Kendall residents and ancestors.
However, not everyone has the same respect for the cemetery. On Friday night, vandals kicked out the windows of the cemetery chapel and then on Sunday, vandals damaged 24 headstones and monuments.
“It's indescribable,” says former Kendall Town Historian Joette Knapp. “It hurts and aches. Mischief is one thing, but devastation and maliciousness is something else. You don't understand people at all.”
Some of the damaged headstones date back to the 1800’s. At least one of the damaged monuments belongs to a war veteran. Some of the headstones are beyond repair.
“It's very disturbing and very sickening that anybody could cause this kind of destruction here,” says Kendall Town Supervisor Dan Gaesser.
This isn’t the first time the cemetery has been vandalized. The cemetery is along a secluded road with no lights or houses.
“It's a seasonal road and not well traveled,” says Gaesser. “It’s very dark at night. [The cemetery] is an easy target.”
However, Gaesser says the damage has never been bad as it is now.
“We've had some vandalism in the past and they were minor in nature-- nothing to this level.”
The town has had enough. It plans to install motion-activated-lights and security cameras at the cemetery to prevent similar acts of vandalism.
The town is now assessing how much the damage costs. Gaesser says the town will try to repair or replace as many of the headstones and monuments it can.