by Kevin Walsh

I just stumbled on a pile of photos I took in Prospect Cemetery in Jamaica, Queens in 2004. History under our noses has been pretty much left to the vandals, though cemetery caretaker Cate Ludlam’s tireless work has enabled the reconstruction of the cemetery chapel, which is now a concert and events hall.

Still, the cemetery was founded in 1668, not long after Jamaica was called by its Dutch name, Rustdorp. This is one of the intact headstones, the oldest remaining of which goes back to 1710 or so.

Thou art dust.


stever November 7, 2011 - 8:09 am

I’ve looked out at this cemetery for over 35 years from the window of a passing LIRR train, and I am amazed and pleased that anything at all remains. I remember it in the days before York College was built and south of the LIRR was a desolate no-mans land. Those were also the days when St Monica’s Church still stood, decrepit in its own right. Thanks to those who keep it going.

Sylviam November 8, 2011 - 2:47 pm

I was baptized at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in 1951. I also have fond memories of my grandfather taking me to Kings Park on (I believe) Jamaica Avenue as a child.
I have been taking the LIRR for forty years and never fail to look out the window at Prospect Park Cemetary, the facade that’s left of St. Monica’s (It has been renovated & the front facade of the building was kept) I don’t know what the building houses now.
I have been planning on getting off the train in Jamaica & taking a trip down memory lane. However, I never seem to have the time.
Thanks for posting the photo of the headstone & the age of Prospect Park Cemetary.

barb g November 10, 2011 - 10:24 am

if this little cemetary is right on jamaica ave, i used to walk past there in the 60s, on my way to the OLD public library, which may have been at sutphin. the NEW library was opened in 1965, so it was before that. i was a kid, but fascinated with the old headstones.

robert carroll November 29, 2014 - 11:33 pm

The “Old Library” you reffered to was on west side of Parsons Blvd.between Jamaica Ave. and Hillside Ave.

Johnperry January 20, 2015 - 9:11 pm

Can you get to walk around this cemetary I pass it on the train and IikeNY history

Fred April 17, 2015 - 10:52 pm

I lived across the street on the Parsons Blvd side of this cemetery in early 1940’s. There were huge horse chestnut trees on the grounds and the nuts would cover the sidewalk. At that time there were still old trolley tracks on Parsons Blvd, up hill, just north of Hillside Ave. We moved to Elmont in Nassau county in 1949 but I’ll never forget the wonderful memories of Jamaica.

Constance Xing January 20, 2016 - 5:29 pm

How I knew this place as a child .The school , the rectory , the nuns the priests .All so long ago .I played with the Irish and Italian kids that surrounded the neighborhood .I can not count the many times i strolled through that graveyard reading headstones .That neighborhood is long gone .How we would shop in Gertz’s , Macy’s , May’s and eating in the concord .ALL gone !


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