The Charles Baber Cemetery, consisting of 25 acres of land situated in the middle of Pottsville fronting Market Street
from Twelfth Street to Sixteenth Street, serves the community as both a cemetery and as a garden park. As the city’s
largest natural “green space” with transit use by school children and walking and jogging use by adults, and with the
Gothic chapel, the Egyptian Revival Gatehouses, the acres of burial sites, and the carriage house and other areas like
the meditation section, there is always work and projects to be done. The garden cemetery employs two full time and
one part time laborers for general work and repairs to the grounds and buildings (like painting, plastering, filling
in sunken graves, straightening leaning headstones, etc.), or mowing and weed whacking, or maintenance of the mowing
and weeding equipment, or cutting and pruning smaller dead trees and limbs. Outside contractors are employed for major
jobs like the cutting of large dead trees, the pond restoration or the roof replacement on the chapel.
The garden cemetery operates on an annual budget of $110,000 with the largest expense being labor costs to maintain
the acres of grounds in a well groomed and manicured condition. The income to support this budget is extremely
limited with $15,000 coming from annual grave maintenance donations, $9,000 from an endowment account with the
Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, $4,000 from tree sponsorships, $3,000 -$5,000 coming from general donations
and contributions from “friends” of the cemetery, $1,000-$2,000 coming from 8-10 burials per year, and the balance
of $75,000 coming from a diminishing investment account.
Preserving the Charles Baber Garden Cemetery with its many benefits to the community is the primary goal of the board.
The natural resources like the trees, the shrubs, and the spring fed pond support the environment by providing oxygen,
cleaning the air, housing a multitude of perching and breeding places for the birdlife, butterflies, squirrels, chipmunks,
and groundhogs. This garden park provides a large acreage of “green” space to the residents of the community. The paths,
trails, and roads service the walkers and joggers, including the school children who cross the property on a daily basis,
and the parents and grandparents pushing baby strollers or walking their toddlers. Burial and grave site visitations at
the cemetery offer pristine grounds and a tranquil, comforting setting of singing birds, trees, and shrubs. And the beautiful
Gothic Chapel, with a bronze columbarium on either side of the entrance, offers summer Sunday church services and a chapel for funeral services.