VISITING UNION CEMETERY AND A NEARBY STONE CHAMBER
A cemetery can be one of the best places to sit and read a book. They can be quite picturesque, they are generally quiet, and someone else mows the lawn. And, of course, they can give us perspective on life.
Union Cemetery in Kent has a spot up on the hill in the back of the cemetery that has a sitting bench and a meditation garden that makes for an ideal autumn visit, when you’d rather sit and relax than go on a 3-hour hike.
To get to Union Cemetery from downtown Carmel in eastern Putnam County, head west on Route 301 for 6.9 miles. The entrance to the cemetery will be on your left, shortly after Tompkins Road, and just before the intersection with Farmers Mills Road. Look for the stone pillars and iron gates. There is a historic marker at the entrance to the cemetery.
I have visited Union Cemetery a few times, usually on my way to or from a hiking spot on the western side of Putnam. Sometimes the gate has been open, and sometimes closed. If you are fortunate enough to be there when it is open, take a drive up the access road that leads to the left and up the hill. At the top of the hill, the pavement turns to gravel, and the road ends at a small circle with a shady spot next to a large open grassy area. Across the grass towards the northwest corner of the cemetery there is a sitting bench and a garden that was added in 1999. The bench sits in a peaceful spot that looks down over the cemetery.
According to the historic marker near the entrance, Union Cemetery was established in 1863. Some of the current residents were moved here from cemetery plots that are now under the waters of Boyd Corners Reservoir.
After spending some time visiting our local ancestors, make a stop at the nearby stone chamber that is on Route 301 slightly north of the cemetery, and just below the intersection with Farmers Mills Road. It is close to the road, and is on the same side of the highway as the cemetery. Be careful if you are crossing the road, because cars speed around the corner with a limited line of sight. Take a step inside and marvel at how it was built. If you ever tried to build a stone wall that doesn’t topple over in a few short years, you will be amazed at how these chambers are constructed.
The visit to the cemetery and stone chamber does not take long at all, and makes for a nice, short outing — or an interesting add-on to a visit to nearby Clarence Fahnestock State Park or White Pond Multiple Use Area. There are also four DEP properties within a mile of the cemetery.
4.34 acres. Tax map number 20.9-1-15