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JIM THORPE, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A burial site allows a person to live on after their time on Earth has passed. One Carbon County cemetery ran out of space decades ago, but has found a way to create more space.

“This is my grandparents in the back. This is our plot,” Jack Sterling said.

When Sterling, president of the Mauch Chunk Cemetery Association’s time on this Earth ends, he knows his body will be laid to rest with his grandparents at the Mauch Chunk Cemetery in Jim Thorpe.

“In my case, it’s just sitting there waiting for me,” Sterling said.

Sterling has five generations of family members buried at the non-denominational cemetery. The burial ground reached capacity more than 40 years ago, leaving room for only people like him who already have a family-owned plot. But that won’t be the case much longer. The association has found a new use for its historic Memorial Chapel of the Resurrection.

“It’s a good place for a permanent internment for people’s loved ones,” Sterling said.

The association is fixing up the chapel and installing a columbarium with more than 100 niches for people to visit their loved ones’ remains. The chapel was built in 1905 and was mainly used during the winter months when it was too cold outside to dig graves. Now an elevator will lower the bodies down and store them until spring.

After decades of being unutilized, the chapel will have a new beginning for a final resting place for many. The Mauch Chunk Cemetery Association plans to have the niches installed later this month.

Once a loved one is placed in the columbarium, people will have secured access to visit them.

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