SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Officials at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County were expressing concern Friday about the recent behavior of some visitors.
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, the visitors have flocked to the grounds to see the graves of Andrew Carnegie and Leona Helmsley, among others – and officials say they have not treated the burial ground with the proper respect.READ MORE: Vice President Kamala Harris Visiting Families In The Bronx
Underneath a watchful moon, visitors at the cemetery can be seen snaking past the centuries-old headstones of history’s more famous Americans. Among them is Washington Irving, whose most famous tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman takes place in the very same town where the cemetery is located – “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
“We ask that you have a sense of decorum when you visit our grounds,” said Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Supt. Jim Logan. “Please approach us and our residents with respect.”
But Logan said some visitors have violated that decorum.
He took CBS2 on a tour of the 166-year-old cemetery, and showed the graffiti that has appeared on industrialist Heber Bishop’s mausoleum.
Markings were also seen on the historic headstone next to the Old Dutch Church.READ MORE: Brian Laundrie's Remains Found In Florida Nature Reserve, Officials Say
The gravestone is so old that it crumbles to the touch, and the inscription on the front of it had faded to obscure who is even buried there. If crews aren’t careful when they remove the markings, they could damage the stone.
Some visitors even parked their cars on top of graves.
“We’ve had folks with tires on footstones, on foot markers; parked just inches from headstones,” Logan said.
Josh Beaver was visiting from North Carolina. He was appalled by the behavior.
“That’s one of those things that you don’t do,” Beaver said. “This is history. This is part of American history, and this is not something that is a toy to be played.”
Despite the bad behavior, which has also included the theft of a veteran’s medal from Irving’s grave, Logan said he welcomes anyone with an interest in the lives that shaped history.MORE NEWS: Alec Baldwin Fired Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer And Injured Director On "Rust" Movie Set
“History can so easily slip through our hands,” he said. “We’re keeping the stories of our residents alive.”