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Riverhead senior to restore broken headstones at historic cemetery

A 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Riverhead is proposing to restore two broken headstones in a small but historic cemetery at the Enterprise Park at Calverton. 

Corey Allen, a Riverhead High School senior and a member of Boy Scout Troop 94 in Wading River, presented the project before the Riverhead Town Board Thursday.

The Wells family cemetery is located inside the perimeter fence at EPCAL and is along the EPCAL bike path, just north of River Avenue.

Corey said this is how he came to know about the cemetery.

The headstone project was brought to his attention by former Riverhead Councilman George Bartunek. 

“Originally, I was just going to do some work in the area,” Corey said.

He also discussed the project with town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, and met with the town’s Landmarks Preservation Committee last Monday. 

The two broken headstones are leaning against their bases and Corey plans on repairing them and putting them back on their bases. 

The cemetery, which can be seen from River Road, dates back to 1839, when Prudence Raynor, formerly Prudence Wells, was buried there. The cemetery was privately owned by the Wells family and is now owned by the town. 

There are 16 family members buried there, but it hasn’t been maintained much in recent years. The last burial there took place in 1930. 

Other parts of the job include cleaning and clearing the underbrush from the area, having an opening made in the fence so people can enter from the bike path and having the town remove some dangerous trees in the area.

Councilman Tim Hubbard cautioned that there are a lot of ticks in this area, and said the clearing may help with this situation. 

The town has indicated it may also install a bike rack and a bench at the site, Corey said, adding that Peconic Monument Works in Riverhead has offered to donate materials and be on site to provide advice when the repairs are undertaken. 

“This is a very well researched project,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said. 

Corey said he started in October. 

“I love everything about it,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said. 

“Excellent presentation,” Mr. Hubbard added.