Early last month, Mr. and Mrs. Scribbler attended Fete en Noir, a fundraising event at Mount Bethel Cemetery in Columbia. Visitors paid $20 each to sit at dozens of tables amid the tombstones. We ate dinner and listened to a rock band. Some people danced. Others toured the burial ground founded by Quakers in the 1720s.
The Friends of Mount Bethel Cemetery, a nonprofit founded in 2017, are using funds from the event to rewire the cemetery caretaker's house. In this way, they help the cemetery's board of directors, who operate as a nonprofit 501(c)13 corporation, to maintain and improve the cemetery in perpetuity.
Ross Hetrick, president of the Thaddeus Stevens Society, hopes to do something similar — that is, to move beyond volunteer fundraising to provide permanent preservation — for the Shreiner-Concord Cemetery at Mulberry and Chestnut streets in Lancaster. He wants to establish a cemetery owner and provide a substantial endowment.