Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, Union County, NJ
Hillside Cemetery is located along Woodland Ave
in Scotch Plains, Union County, NJ. The mailing address is 1401 Woodland but if you use this in a GPS, most likely that will
bring you to a locked gate. Keep going until you find the main gate and you should have no problem entering and visiting during normal
daylight hours. The area is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway (after driving several miles) and Interstate Rt. 287, coming
in from the South Plainfield side.
The cemetery is very large and perhaps it would be best to stop by the office before trying to locate your relatives. There is an online
map available for download from the cemetery's web site here: http://www.hillsidecemetery.com/
The place sprawls over
more than 100 acres and it is easy to get lost there. I can only guess at the number of interments. There are probably
tens of thousands.
Grounds are professionally maintained with apparently a large amount of space available for new plots. Tombstones are
generally in good condition except those which have worn away due to natural elements. Like most very large cemeteries. Hillside
is a peaceful, park-like setting with areas of shade and some pretty large family monuments and mauseleums. The road along side is fairly quiet
and with a gold course next door, the place, though just outside Plainfield, really feels like country.
Hillside was opened in 1886 and, therefore, has a number of graves dating from around that time. There are some monuments which
contain dates preceding the opening of the cemetery. One must assume that family graveyards were moved to this location or monuments to those
deceased and presumably interred prior to its opening have been placed for remembrance.
We had planned to photograph
several thousand markers but management informed me that they do not permit outsiders to visit and photograph monuments. They claim the
Board of Trustees does not permit this. The person who approached me said something about people doing weird things on web sites like
taking photographs of undressed and perhaps lewd persons next to tombstones. I told him that I had nothing weird in mind other than to
provide a free resource to family historians. It is my guess that the place earns money for genealogy requests and does not want anyone
or anything to interfere with that profit making operation. I tried writing to the Trustees but was again turned away. So, even though
your family paid thousands of dollars for their family plots, you'll need to go into your pocket to fork over a $10 per person researched fee.
I do believe they will permit me to photograph particular monuments for specific family members' tombstones if I possess a letter or email from
any person requesting such. But, I wonder if my papers are not quite in order whether they will attempt to send me to a Chinese re-education