Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making Connections

Donna E. Walcovy volunteering time & expertise.

Last month, one of our supporters, Donna E. Walcovy sent us a message that she would be in town for a quick visit. When Donna was a young girl she lived not far from the Old Flandreau Cemetery. Now in adulthood Donna is the owner of Marking Burials, a cemetery preservation organization. While in town Donna visited the Old Flandreau Cemetery with me and offered lots of advice for our preservation program.

She looked at the current status of the visible headstones and identified the brownish one as actually being made of brownstone. Several have more unusual surfaces. One has a willow tree and urn inscribed upon it. These were used by a president on his headstone and several have chosen to use them ever since as a symbol of importance.

There was a small gray rock which previously others of the board had noticed. We were trying to ascertain if it was a headstone, marker, or other rock formation. Donna recognized it immediately as perhaps a marker.

Work still lies ahead. She suggested yes we need to finish making a definitive, safe, walking path down the middle of the cemetery for visitors. Then here is a brief outline Donna described:
  1. Remove all remaining debris.
  2. Seek volunteers to help work in an organized patter moving right to left one small section at time. Clear the area several inches down. Remove any stones and make a pile for future use. (Donna began one by the fence).
  3. Collect any pieces of slate that resurface during our efforts.
  4. Even out the land in the back of the cemetery with rock.
  5. Remove the extra trees.
  6. Reset the headstones.
  7. Landscape the cemetery.

It was such a pleasure meeting Donna Walcovy. She not only shared her knowledge, gave readily of her feedback, but she pitched right in. Knelt down and began working a patch at the front of the cemetery. Many more patches to go through. But every little effort leads to an effective change.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Seems like the summer would have been a great time to be busy with the Friends of Flandreau project.  Yet, somehow there is so much else to be done.  However, we keep making strides (well okay baby steps) towards our goal of cemetery preservation.  We understand this is a long process that involves many steps.  But if we keep making progress we will eventually reach our goal of setting up perpetual care for this little tract of land within our city walls.

Today we applied for our EIN, according to the Simple Filings, "Federal Tax ID, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for banking, tax filing, and other business purposes."( It will take up to 2 weeks to officially be added to the IRS database.  But we are now well underway.  The Internet is amazing.  Gone are the days of send paperwork via snail mail.  Wait 4 weeks for a decision.  Then wait to receive the status of the decision.  At least we knew in a matter of minutes that we were approved. Now we just need to wait patiently while the database updates its information.

The Friends of Flandreau, Inc. will have more information to share about our preservation project in the weeks to come.  A look back at where we were, and where we are now is quite interesting. We look forward to working towards our goal of preserving the Old Flandreau Cemetery in New Rochelle, NY on Chester Place. Please visit us again soon to read our latest update.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fundraising Can Begin

Now that we have been made official, The Friends of Flandreau, Inc. can begin fundraising efforts. There is still a great deal of work to be done at the cemetery for a full-scale preservation. The executive board of The Friends of Flandreau, of course, will be open to suggestions from the community. We can be reached via email at
In an effort to spread the word about our preservation program, we have opened a Cafe Press store. Items that reflect the progress in the preservation effort will be offered here for sale. All proceeds will assist The Friends of Flandreau in setting up perpetual care for the cemetery. If you are interested in viewing the items that are currently available, please visit We hope you will find some of the items useful. On behalf of The Friends of Flandreau, thank you for reading this and considering financial support.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Making it Official

Recent times have been a very busy one for many. The Friends of Flandreau, Inc. (Yes, we are now officially just that!) was no exception. In September, we applied with the help of a wonderful law firm, McDermott Will & Emery,, to officially become a legal entity in order to help preserve The Old Flandreau Cemetery in New Rochelle, NY. Special thank you to the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, This wonderful organization connected us with the lawyers at McDermott Will & Emery. After several emails, phone calls, discussions, paperwork, and all the work of the law firm, The Friends of Flandreau, Inc. were recognized by the State of New York. On December 17th, the Department of State approved our application to become a non-profit.
Over recent years one of our greatest advocates has been Donna E. Walcovy. Donna originates from here in New Rochelle, NY but now calls Mashpee near Cape Cod home. Through the magic of technology she has been in touch sharing her wealth of knowledge as a professional cemetery preservationist. A great article was written about our friend, Cape Cod
As a young girl Donna and her grandfather tried to do their part in preserving The Old Flandreau Cemetery. Donna still feels connected to “her cemetery” as she once called it in an email correspondence. She has kindly offered her assistance in showing us the ropes in performing a properly planned preservation program.
Donna has made such an impact on many. That her friends have decided to rally together to assist her in raising money for a GPR system. GPR stands for Ground Penetrating Radar. This equipment will help Donna to locate the proper locations for headstones. In trying to learn more about the technology I found this interesting website, Unfortunately, this advancement in technology is quite expensive. Donna will need $30,000 to acquire a GPR system. If you would like to make a donation to this excellent cause please send a donation to:
Donna GPR Fund
Attn: Sally Lewis
The Cape Cod 5
10 North Market Street
Mashpee, MA 02649
The Friends of Flandreau, Inc. are very pleased to finally be recognized by New York State as a nonprofit organization. We are also pleased to lend our support to Donna Walcovy in her efforts to acquire this equipment.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mark Your Calendars

This year, the Old Flandreau Cemetery was honored by the City of New Rochelle as a Heritage
Award 2010 recipient. On Monday, November 15, 2010 the official plaque awarded by the city will be unveiled. We will be gathering on Monday the 15th at 3:30 at the cemetery site. We hope you can join us for some light refreshments and to celebrate this historical location.
Click here for an event flyer. We would love to know if you plan on attending. Please send an email to

Friday, October 1, 2010

A friend who recently formed The Wells of Love and Hope, Inc. introduced us to The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. This is a fabulous clearinghouse of lawyers in New York City that analyze a project, share it with several law firms, and locate a firm that is willing to assist a new client on a Pro Bono basis. We are so grateful to them for their assistance. We are currently applying to the New York Department of State Division of Corporations to become a legally recognized not-for-profit corporation, Friends of Flandreau, Inc.

To quote our submitted documentation:
“The corporation is formed for the purposes of restoring, preserving and beautifying Flandreau Cemetery, an historical New Rochelle family graveyard that operated from 1800 to 1892.”

As we hear more from the law firm and New York, this blog will have posts regarding the progress being made. It is so nice to see this effort grow from an aged article in the New York Times with negative reflections to today with the positivity mounting. It will be so nice to officially be able to provide perpetual care soon if all goes well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Old Flandreau Cemetery Honored

On June 15, 2010 the City of New Rochelle honored The Old Flandreau Cemetery with a Heritage Award. Catherine Josset, descendant, applied for the prestigious award. The program's goal was described as “The program celebrates and raises public awareness about historic properties and structures in the following categories: residences older than fifty years that are significant to New Rochelle's history; public or quasi-public structures older than 50 years that are significant to New Rochelle's history; stellar restoration, residence; stellar restoration, adaptive reuse; home of nationally prominent individual; significant architect or architectural style; and landscape or landscape feature.”

On June 15, 2010 during a ceremony at New Rochelle's City Hall the award was presented to Catherine Josset. Catherine graciously shared the award with all those present from the unofficial Friends of Flandreau including Jennifer Terranova (neighbor), Teddy Flandreau (descendant), and Jeannine Shields (concerned citizens). You can read more about the cemetery and the award at

Soon the city will install a plaque to recognize The Old Flandreau Cemetery as a historical place of significance in our town. We look forward to the upcoming installation. Special thanks to Mayor Noam Bramson, Peter Korn, Barbara Davis, Catherine Josset, and the City of New Rochelle.