the Development of St. Mary Cemetery
From a document by John J. Meagher,
Saint Marys Cemetery, Tewksbury Massachusetts in the Boston Archdiocese was formally consecrated on Sunday June 26th, 1961. Cardinal Cushing designated Rt. Reverend Raymond L. Hyder, Director of the Cemetery to be the officiating officer at the consecration.
Saint Patrick's Cemetery, Lowell Massachusetts, which has served this area since 1832 is now surrounded by the City, and Saint Marys will take over where Saint Patrick's leaves off. The first burial took place September 26th 1961.
The new cemetery is located on River Road, Tewksbury Massachusetts, about 5 miles from downtown Lowell on a beautiful rolling site. The location is well populated with large shade tress. Nature endowed the site with a beautiful boundary planting of Evergreens and woodland on all sides.
By the terms of the zoning agreement four hundred feet back from the entrance is permanently reserved for lawns and beautification. No lots can be sold in this area, which is divided by a double entrance drive two hundred feet long and forty eight feet wide with center grass strip. A natural pond surrounded by a natural planting of white Pine, Oak and Birch tress is located to the left of the entrance drive.
The remainder of the entrance area is taken over with beautiful lawns and specimen flowering trees with ample reserve for a future brick colonial Administration Building.
For the present the Cemetery will be operated from St. Patrick's Administration Building. The Administration Building will harmonize architecturally with a brick colonial Service Building erected on a side boundary midway back in the property.
The first three sections after passing the entrance are reserved for Shrines. On the highest of these sections a Shrine has been erected to St. Mary, the patron saint of the Cemetery. From this site there is beautiful view of the distant hills of Now Hampshire.
From this point also, the site begins to slope gradually to the Merrimack River, which forms the northern boundary of the property.
Beyond the areas set aside for the Entrance and Shrine Section requirements, the monument and Shrine Sections are alternated. It is planned to have a Monument and Shrine Section on sale at the same time to allow prospective lot owners a choice in type of lots.
We are not as fortunate as some cities that have two cemeteries and can operate one cemetery as a complete shrine cemetery, the other as a monument cemetery.
The monument sections however will be severely restricted to provide open spaces in which excavators can operate. This restriction will also keep open vistas in the lawns.
The total area of the Cemetery is 52 Acres, and the area developed at this time comprises 18 Acres divided into 9 Sections.
Plans and Specifications for the now Cemetery were prepared during the winter of 1958 from boundary and topographic maps of the area. Construction was started July 23, 1958 and substantially completed from under-drainage to lawns in ten weeks.
The construction work was divided into two parts; contract and non-contract. The Drainage, Water Lines,, and Roadways were constructed under contract. Clearing the site (18 acres) and grading operations and lawns were done on a non-contract basis with all operations being coordinated by the writer.
The storm drainage system was divided into two sections, The main section pitched toward the river and the minor section feeds into the pond, An overflow pipe to a ditch maintains the water level In the pond.
Pipe used in the storm drainage system was transite concrete, varying in size, from 8" to 20" in diameter.
The water system is also divided into two parts, One section for the Irrigation the other for Administration and Service Building. A pump house was constructed at the river and a Marlowe pump with a Ford V-8 115 HP gasoline motor was installed. Electricity was not available at the site. This pump will deliver 800 gallons of water per minute at 70 pounds pressure to the highest point in the cemetery which is 90 feet higher and 800 feet from the river for the irrigation system. The water for the Service Buildings and standpipes within the grounds is taken from the Tewksbury water mains.
The roadways other than entrance drives, are 24 feet wide, They have a 4 inch penetrated crushed stone base on an existing gravel foundation and 2 ½ inch bituminous surfacing laid in two courses The finish course was placed one year later to allow for possible settlement.
Clearing the site was done by cemetery employees, Bulldozers Graders, Scrapers, etc. were used in grading operations on a rental of equipment basis. Lawn construction namely; disking, harrowing, fertilizing, and seeding was also performed by Cemetery employees.
We found these particular operations could be done more economically and with more satisfaction on a non-contract basis.
During the past summer section planting was completed. The lawns are well established and by 1962 St, Marys Cemetery should be well on its way toward meeting the future Catholic Cemetery requirements of the Lowell area
Photos of St. Mary Cemetery's Development