TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Homewood Cemetery decides to displace garden

Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Maria Felix Cubas of Squirrel Hill, tends to her garden plot at the Homewood Community Gardens in Squirrel Hill on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. There are 94 plots for planting both vegetables and flowers.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related .pdfs
Can't view the attachment? Then download the latest version of the free, Adobe Acrobat reader here:

Get Adobe Reader

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, 12:04 a.m.
 

The barren, snow-covered planters in the Homewood Community Garden will bloom once more.

But after October — when the garden's lease with the Homewood Cemetery runs out — the 100 or so individual garden plots will be gone.

After nearly 40 years, cemetery officials have decided to part ways with the city's oldest and largest community garden to make room for more graves.

“Overall, it's been a great relationship, but the cemetery is moving into that direction as we further develop,” said David Michener, cemetery president.

The 200-acre cemetery, the final resting place for famous Pittsburghers such as industrialists Henry Clay Frick and H.J. Heinz II, is 60- to 70-percent developed but needs to look several years ahead, he said.

The Homewood Community Garden opened about 1977 to the delight of local growers, most of whom didn't have room in their yards for gardens of their own.

“We had two little kids, very little money and we ate what we grew,” said Pat Schuetz, 67, of Regent Square, who had a plot from 1977 to 1985 and 2003 to 2012. “It's a wonderful thing. I'm sorry to hear of this happening, but I'm not astounded.”

Schuetz and other gardeners said the threat of the cemetery taking back its land loomed for years.

“When you paid your fee at the beginning of the season, you'd sign a contract agreeing to maintain your plot and also with the understanding that the cemetery could take the land back in the middle of the season,” Schuetz said.

But inside the garden, growers became friends as they learned how to cultivate the land and warded off everything from tomato blight to hungry deer and rabbits.

“It was wonderful to have that big plot to grow stuff all those years,” said Joni Raboniwitz, 72, of Park Place, who had a plot for more than 30 years.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
  2. Developers share their vision for Garden Theater block on North Side
  3. Volunteer tutors boost adult literacy in Allegheny County
  4. National Night Out ‘a start’ for violence-prone Homewood
  5. Downtown Macy’s building to lose OASIS to closer parent organization
  6. Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s banding program a labor of love for avian expert
  7. Allegheny County Council candidates chosen for District 11 ballot
  8. Newsmaker: Harry J. Gruener
  9. Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays
  10. 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
  11. East Liberty man arrested in connection with Larimer shooting