NORTH ADAMS -- Hillside Cemetery was alive with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts students and other community members Saturday for a fall day of service.
More than 70 students turned out to scrub and take inventory of gravestones, as well as clear brush, as part of an ongoing restoration project led by resident Roger Eurbin.
"I think its wonderful," Eurbin said of the turnout. "When I went to school here, the college was sort of separate. There wasn't a lot of interaction."
MCLA's integration into the community was evident Saturday, when volunteers went through at least 40 contractor-grade trash bags and a gallon of SimpleGreen cleaner during the four-hour cleanup.
The cemetery, which dates back to 1798 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, is the final resting place for many noteworthy residents. Two-hundred and fifty veterans are buried at the site, including more than 140 from the Civil War.
But years of deferred maintenance and vandalism left the site in disrepair. The Hillside Fund was established this spring to restore and eventually beautify the site, with the city pledging a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000. A group of 30 volunteers also volunteered at the cemetery during this spring's 21st Annual Community Day of Service.
Eurbin, a Navy Veteran who has spent hours pouring over city records and creating documents for the 1,500 gravestones for the project's first phase, gave MCLA students plenty of background on the site's rich history.
One man buried in the cemetery was killed at the Fort Massachusetts site, he said. The man was buried with one bone with a bullet still embedded.
Phil Mcinerney, an MCLA senior in the Pi Upsilon Pi fraternity, said he was interested in visiting the cemetery's south side, where many noteworthy residents are buried.
Mcinerney said about 10 other students from his organization volunteered on Saturday.
"I think it's awesome that so many people from MCLA came here to help," he said. "I think it's really important to help the community as a school."
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright thanked MCLA students and Eurbin for their efforts.
"We want to make this project happen," he said.
Alcombright also encouraged students to attend an upcoming event at the Veteran's Circle in the cemetery's south side on Veteran's Day on Monday, Nov. 11, for which plans are in the works.
"We're going to try to have some sort of program there after our Veterans Day ceremonies at the veterans wall," he said. "We want to bring attention to the work being done at the Veteran's Circle -- the new flagpole, raising of the stones around that very important piece of the cemetery."
Donations to the project can be made by check to the "City of North Adams -- Hillside Fund" and be sent in care of the Mayor's Office, 10 Main St. North Adams MA, 01247.
To view an interactive guide of the cemetery, visit www.