Cemetery’s 1936 Office Building Wins Preservation Project Award —
NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. – At a recent awards ceremony, Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark
was presented with the 2018 Bergen County Historic Preservation Award in the category of
Continuing Preservation and Use for its Holy Cross Cemetery 1936 Office Building Preservation Project in North Arlington.
The Bergen County Historic Preservation Awards are presented annually by Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III, the Board
of Chosen Freeholders, the Department of Parks, the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs and the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board.
Joseph Verzi, Assistant Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries, was on hand to accept the award.
“The essence of historic preservation is exemplified uniquely in our cemeteries because they serve as a primary place of remembrance
of those we loved,” said Verzi. “The names we place on cemetery markers, monuments, and walls of columbaria and mausoleums indicate where the remains of our loved ones reside, and we can find them and tell others how to find them in our historic office building
at Holy Cross Cemetery. As such, we are honored to receive this award and thank the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board for recognizing the historic significance of our cemetery office building
and how much it has meant to our community.”
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Holy Cross Cemetery’s office building was added to the cemetery grounds in 1936, almost three decades after farm owners sold the property to the Archdiocese of Newark
to help establish a final and fine resting place for the area’s Catholic community. Little did the farmers know that one-fifth of North Arlington, or roughly 208 acres, would become the largest Catholic Cemetery in New
Jersey, with over 300 thousand memorials. This equates to about 20 interments for every single living person in the town. Central to the cemetery’s operations has been the historic Holy Cross Office building.
By 2012, the building was showing its age from 80 years of wear and tear resulting from water infiltration, acid rain, and nonexistent insulation. Additionally, the vast
and continuously growing numbers of archives required additional interior space to safeguard the records of those who had passed on and were memorialized therein. The humble building, just steps off busy Ridge Road, had
been a familiar comfort to generations of grieving Catholics crossing its threshold to conduct the final business of a passed life.
Understanding this, the Archdiocese of Newark decided to fully commit to the preservation of this cemetery records office building.
Within three-and-a-half-years, the project was planned and designed and preservation of the original building and construction of its addition were completed. During
this time, the original building was brought into compliance with modern building codes, thereby extending the structure’s useful life into the foreseeable future. The building reopened in 2017 and continues to be a central resource for genealogists researching
the Holy Cross Cemetery archives, which contain over 300,000 memorials. As stated in the Historic Preservation Awards program, “the new addition would not compete with the beauty of the 1936 building, but would extend its useful life and use materials and
architecture sympathetic to the dignity of the original.”
Holy Cross Cemetery was the recipient of another prestigious award earlier this year: the 2017-2018 American Cemetery Excellence (ACE) Award. The award, presented by
American Cemetery & Cremation magazine, a funeral and cemetery industry publication, recognizes the most outstanding cemeteries around the world. According to the magazine, “far more than just a final resting place, Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum
offers a park-like setting, exquisite artwork, modern technology and a faith-inspired atmosphere. It’s easy to understand why Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum has been selected as our seventh annual American Cemetery Excellence award winner.”
Holy Cross Cemetery also was featured prominently in media coverage last fall when the town of North Arlington was named as one of Money magazine’s top 10 places to live in the U.S.
According to The Record newspaper, “the working-class Bergen County municipality may be best known to outsiders for its vast Holy Cross Cemetery…”
To learn more about Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum and the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, visit
Joseph Verzi, Assistant Executive Director of Catholic Cemeteries (center), accepting the Bergen County Historic Preservation Award in the category of Continuing Preservation and Use for the Holy Cross
Cemetery 1936 Office Building Preservation Project in North Arlington.
Holy Cross Cemetery’s office building was added to the cemetery grounds in 1936, almost three decades after farm owners sold the property to the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
The newly preserved and historic Holy Cross office building is a central resource for genealogists. It still contains the well preserved, but now digitally rendered, archives of the entire necropolis’ 301,000+ inhabitants
dating back to 1905.
MORE HISTORIC PHOTOS AT
Photos courtesy of Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark.
Maria Margiotta, M.Sc.
Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue, Newark, N.J. 07104
Tel. 973-497-7987 | Cell. 201-306-8695
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