Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I belong to an organization that was formed to save the Selma Mansion located in Norristown. The house was built in 1794 and is one of the most important historical structures in the town.  During the late 1980s, the organization was formed because the house was in danger of being razed.  A deal was struck by the original organization members and a builder to erect an apartment complex on the property of the mansion with the plan to renovate the house to be either office space or a community center for the complex. The builder pulled out of the project before the renovations to the house were started and the organization has been trying to obtain rights to the mansion ever since.
Some time ago, someone posted on the group’s Facebook page claiming the apartment complex was built over a graveyard.  Since it was not uncommon in the days when the mansion was young to bury family members in a plot on the property of a large house like Selma, it is extremely possible that such a graveyard existed.  The person making the claim grew up in the area and delivered the local newspaper to the last resident.  He had the opportunity to speak to her on many occasions and was often treated to cookies and iced tea, as well as hearing many stories, when he made his deliveries.  He came out to the mansion shortly after the posting and showed us where the graveyard was reported to be; under the rear drive to one of the buildings and he said he distinctly remembered seeing the workers pulling up the gravestones and putting them in a dump truck along with shrubs and trees not wanted during the construction phase.  If this is indeed true, that area is hallowed ground and paving or building over it is illegal.
Now we have the job of trying to substantiate his claims.  There is much research that is needed up to and including x-raying the ground to see if bones can be seen. Since the county’s historical society has done an exhaustive inventory of all the graves in the county, the research should not take long at all.  If we do find out that there are bodies buried there, then a decision has to be made.  One way or another, a paved over graveyard could really help toward the renovation efforts.  Who knows, maybe those bones will take on a new form.

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