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NORTH ADAMS -- When Roger Eurbin began his campaign to survey, repair and restore Hillside Cemetery last year, he dreamed that it would be embraced and become a community project.
A year later, he's closer to seeing that dream become a reality. On Tuesday, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright announced the city has established the Hillside Fund and has launched a fundraising campaign, running through May 31, for the first round of restoration projects at the cemetery. The initial goal is $25,000.
"I think we're getting there," Eurbin said. "I recently did a presentation for the Northern Berkshire Retirees Club and they were the first group to give us a check. I'm very thankful."
Alcombright said the city has pledged a dollar-for-dollar-match up to $10,000, which was recently appropriated from the city's Tinker Fund, along with significant labor.
"We're hoping that people will respond," he said. "We looking to make a visible dent at the cemetery. People can contribute what they can -- $5, $50, $500. No amount is too small."
The mayor said the fund is the result of Eurbin's efforts, which included a group of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts students clearing brush and surveying stones in October 2012.
"This is extremely important, as we have someone who has been willing to step up and take this on as a cause," Alcombright said.
The cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dates back to 1798 when the Knight family donated a portion of their family farm to the city in honor of their daughter, Olive, who became its first occupant. One of their descendants, Edward R. Tinker II, established a charitable trust that annually donates $4,000 to the city's Tinker Fund for the maintenance and operation of the cemetery.
Hillside, which is the oldest municipal cemetery, is the final resting place for some of the city's oldest and most prominent citizens, including John Henry Haynes, the so-called father of archeological photography; Edward S. Wilkinson, the city's third mayor; Sanford Blackinton, an industrialist who built what is now the North Adams Public Library; and Nathan Putnam, the city's first postmaster.
It is also the final resting place of more than 250 veterans, including more than 140 from the Civil War.
"We're going to undertake our first major project at the Veterans' Circle on Memorial Day," Eurbin said. "It's in deplorable condition. I want to be clear though, this isn't just about the veterans' graves. It's not just about the important people buried there. It's about all of the people there. One of the things that really got me involved was the history of that place. We need to protect that history, before we lose it." Explore Hillside Cemetery's history with our interactive guide.
Alcombright said the initial restoration efforts will take place on the north side of the cemetery, which is more visible.
"We're hoping people will notice the changes and it will help further efforts," he said, noting that the restoration efforts will take multiple years. "Our end goal is to raise $100,000. We're starting off with a smaller goal, which may help us in the long run as we apply for grants. We'll have some seed money for matching grants."
Donations should be made out to the "City of North Adams -- Hillside Fund" and sent in care of the Mayor's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247.
Explore Hillside Cemetery with our interactive guide
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email