Cemetery makes historic register

BY DAVID BAUGHER, ASSOCIATE EDITOR

The New Mt. Sinai Cemetery at 8430 Gravois Rd., has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

“We feel very, very proud,” said Bennett Lerner, executive director of the cemetery. “A very limited number of cemeteries are accepted to the National Historical Registry. The reason for that is it’s not the people who are buried in the cemetery who make the difference as far as nomination are concerned. It’s more the architecture and the cultural change and the design of the cemetery, that it reflects historical change that qualifies the cemetery for admission.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The Muny - Camelot ad


Lerner said that among the benefits of the cemetery’s being listed in the Registry are protection against development or changing of the land, though the main benefit is prestige. Lerner said he is not aware of any other Jewish cemeteries in Missouri on the registry.

About 10,700 people are interred at the cemetery. Among them are such prominent figures as author Fannie Hurst, civic leaders Nathan Frank and Louis P. Aloe and businessmen David May, Julius Baer, Dave P. Wohl and Howard Baer.

William B. Eiseman, Jr., a board member who funded the effort to get the cemetery listed, said New Mt. Sinai is very special to him.

“My great-grandfather was buried out there in 1878,” Eiseman said. “My father’s brother was killed in a railroad wreck in 1924,” he said.

For him, the cemetery represented an important place for his family history.

“Everybody else went on picnics; we went to the cemetery,” Eiseman said. “So I’ve been going out there for a long time. It’s something that’s a part of my life. All my people are out there.”