With Spring upon us - not that you can tell from the snow flurries and the cold - I'm getting back out, hiking and exploring my way around the Ruins that surround us.
In 1923, when construction of the current (fourth) Welland Canal was taking place, it was decided to flood much of the area surrounding the old (third) Welland Canal to create a pondage, in which water could be stored for lowering and raising the water level throughout the locks. The one stumbling block was the existence of St. Peter's Cemetery. While its old wooden church was long-since gone, and the cemetery itself was largely forgotten, there were 842 bodies buried there.
I have stumbled across two identifiable tombstones over the years, hiking the area in the late winter when the pondage is drained for maintenance, and early spring as the first flooding displaces anything loosened by the wind and ice of winter, but most of what you'll find today is the stone bases upon which proper tombstones once stood. Every once in a while, though, you come across something new, something interesting, like this board I found washed up.
It's big, heavy, and thick, old enough to have become hardened by time rather than rotted by the elements. The weight, and the near-petrified aspect alone, were enough to capture my interest, but it was the two massive hand-wrought spikes driven through it that really caught my attention.
The head is clearly hand-forged, irregularly shaped with a flattened tip where it had been hammered. As to what the board is, or what it's from, I have no idea. My first (admittedly morbid) thought upon seeing it was coffin lid, and I'd love to think it's part of the old church, but it's more likely from the era of the old (third) canal, perhaps part of the old gates, docks, or even a remnant of its construction.
While you won't find St. Peter's Cemetery on any current map, Lakeview Cemetery is very easy to get to, and if you drive into the old section, and head in the direction of the canal pondage, you can find the small field where the few relocated graves and recovered tombstones lie today. Most are so worn as to be illegible, but you can find dates of passing as old as 1820.