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At Slate Hill, the future is the focus


When Monica Hinden looks at Slate Hill, believed to be the oldest burial ground in Bucks County, she doesn’t just see the past. She’s sees the future.

A future where it is a shared community space for residents to appreciate Lower Makefield’s long history and feel more connected to it; a place where schools take their students to learn about the people buried there; a peaceful place for quiet reflection.

“We really are part of something bigger, older and historic,” she said.

Hinden is working with the Lower Makefield Township Historical Commission to drive revitalization of the township-owned Slate Hill Cemetery.

The effort, led by Hinden and commission members Thomas Argentieri and Joe Camaratta, is proceeding on multiple fronts simultaneously.

Hinden is writing a Keystone Preservation Grant for restoration of the grave markers. The team is also working with the township police department to explore the oldest section of the cemetery, originally a Quaker burial ground full of unmarked graves, using 3D radar scanning technology.

About 15 QR codes are in production that this summer will be placed at key plots to provide information about the lives of their occupants.

Then there is the outreach effort to introduce residents to Slate Hill. A ghost tour there last fall, part of that initiative, drew about 200 people, which Hinden and Argentieri said was a big win.

“I drove past that site twice a day and, like a lot of people, knew nothing about its extraordinary history,” Argentieri said. “The oldest marked grave is 1698...Our goal is to raise the consciousness of the residents of the township.”

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