Lake Cemetery, Silvie Cemetery
Established 1834 Forest Avenue between Willowbrook Road and Bayonne Bridge Expressway, Graniteville
Established 1885 adjacent to 36 Willowbrook Road, Graniteville
These two adjoining cemeteries, both non-sectarian, make up about three acres within a residential neighborhood. Lake, originally established by the Old Clove Baptist Church, was a largely working-class cemetery. It is the final resting place of Staten Island’s third Borough President, Calvin D. Van Name, as well as hundreds of veterans from the Civil War through World War II. Among these are several African American veterans, including members of the Buffalo Soldiers, who were the first African Americans to enter France during World War I. Another noted veteran is Emeline Earl, the only woman from Staten Island to serve in the Civil War. In 1885, the Silvie Funeral Home purchased a large track of property from Lake Cemetery and resold the graves to its clients, many of whom were deemed unworthy to be buried in Catholic cemeteries (non-baptized infants, unmarried women who died in childbirth and those who committed sins according to the church, for example). The practice of purchasing property from other cemeteries was outlawed in New York State in the 1950s, at which point Silvie would combine with Lake to become one cemetery. From 1979 until very recently, the site was abandoned and used as a homeless encampment and dumping ground for trucks to unload debris. It is currently owned by the Reconstituted Lake Cemetery Association, with FACSI in charge of maintenance. As part of this effort, FACSI replaced many stolen or lost grave markers and restored many existing ones. The site remains an active cemetery, with its most recent burial in 2003.