11. Green-Wood Cemetery

In January 2013, a construction worker taking part in the expansion of the Green-Wood Crematory and Columbarium discovered a metal box with the inscription “Green-Wood Cemetery 1838-1954.” Fortunately, none of the grisly discoveries you might expect to encounter were found in the box. Instead, the small metal container held a series of 19th century books written by the first cemetery historian, Nehmiah Cleaveland.

Titles found included, “A Handbook for Green-Wood”(1867) and “Green-Wood Illustrated” (1847). Though the metal box was still air-tight, condensation trapped inside the plastic coverings of the books caused significant water damage. Retired Brooklyn College professor Anthony Cucchiara, an expert in dealing with water damaged artifacts, attempted to salvage the books by having them frozen. Despite Cucchiara’s best efforts, the pages of the books were a lost cause. Luckily, some of the titles found are still in print and part of the current Green-Wood collection.