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By Jill Runfola

The Monongahela Cemetery is moving along with plans to undergo groundbreaking restoration on their historic chapel that will return it to its original beauty.

Chapel3
Pictured are (l-r): Mark Affinito, cemetery superintendent and Jack Cattaneo, VP/Secretary for the cemetery, standing in front of the Monongahela Cemetery Chapel.

A study has been done and fundraisers are underway. Also, donations are being accepted. The chapel, available to all, is non-denominational, and the plan to restore it is so future generations may benefit from the chapel, too, useful not only as a place of mourning but also for community functions.

In 2001, the Monongahela Cemetery applied for historic recognition—landscape, design and architecture. The chapel and all the grounds were surveyed. The Monongahela Chapel is a major reason that the Monongahela Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

“In 2016, The Monongahela Board of Members wanted a study done for the registry on the feasibility of restoring the chapel,” said Jack Cattaneo, Vice President/Secretary and historian with Monongahela Cemetery. He stated, “The first thing we did was hire an architect, Terry Necciai, from Monongahela. Two months later, he was still studying the building. He created a 40-page report. It could only be described as an act of love on his part.”

Cattaneo said that the architect of the well-designed chapel in 1894 was Frank Keller and that the chapel was built at a cost of $3,500. The Board would like to reach out to surviving family members to inform them of the good news of the restoration.

Renovations will maintain the original beauty of the building while making it even more attractive. They are to include: 1. Fireplace restoration. 2. Removal of carpeting and restoration of the oak floors. 3. Doors replacement. 4. Installation of new lighting. 5. Replacement of the bathroom with a working one.

Official fundraising began on May 2 when requests for donations were mailed out. They are planning a band concert and a memorial walk. In the chapel, there will be more meetings, educational sessions, lectures, and performances. Monongahela Historical Society is planning a fundraiser in October using the chapel. The chapel is functional as well as offering old-time charm.

In conclusion, Cattaneo says the key factor is “the need to raise the money as quickly as possible so the restoration can begin.” To help their efforts, you may send in any tax-deductible amount to: Monongahela Cemetery, 800 Country Club Road, PO Box 164, Monongahela, PA 15063. For more information, call 724-258-8750 or visit www.MonongahelaCemetery.com.

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