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Tear it down or fix it up: the "Old Office" at Oakwood Cemetery

Tear it down or fix it up: the "Old Office" at Oakwood Cemetery

It is a familiar sight when driving south of Syracuse on Interstate 81.

The ornate and sturdy railroad bridge was once the entrance to the historic Oakwood Cemetery. What sits behind it is a magnificent piece of history.

"Going to the office building if they were her to either visit a grave or arrange a burial," Grant Johnson with Preservation Association of Central New York, said.

It is known as the "Old Office" building. The impressive structure is more than a century old. It was built in the Romanesque style for $20,000 in 1902.

In the 1950's and 60's, Interstate-81 was built and the main cemetery entrance closed. The area is secluded and the "Old Office," building has fallen into disrepair.

"All the windows are broken and boarded up at the moment, and the building is covered in graffiti. A lot of that just has to do with the fact is out of sight," Johnson said.

Johnson is an architectural historian, and part of the Preservation Association of Central New York, known as PACNY.

The "Old Office" building is one of several buildings PACNY is pushing to restore.

However, washing off the graffiti, replacing the shattered windows and restoring the building to its original beauty most likely will not happen any time soon.

"The cost on all this stuff is just astronomical," Dan Glavin, executive director of Oakwood Cemetery, said.

The cemetery is a non-profit organization, and most of the money they have goes to maintaining 160 acres of property.

"In a perfect world, if money was no object, we would have it all done. We would do the old office over. We would do the old chapel over," Glavin said.

Glavin said there is no way they would tear down the historic building. They have looked at ways to repair it, but he does not see it being fixed up soon.

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