How much time have you spent at the mall in the last couple of months? With the holidays not far behind it is likely that you searched for parking spots, traveled store to store, grabbed a bite to eat and paid your respects at the mall cemetery. Wait! What?

Yes, there is a cemetery at one of our Capital Region malls.

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Welcome to 93 West Campbell Road in Schenectady home of Via Port Rotterdam, formerly the Rotterdam Square Mall. Today you will find the Via Aquarium, T Mobile, the Ninety Nine restaurant, Zurich Cinemas and the Vedder Family Cemetery.

You may not have noticed the cemetery in the past because there were 2 big trees that have since been removed. To see the cemetery in person, park your vehicle near the northwest entrance to Via Port Rotterdam. Just to the left of the entrance you will see a short brick wall and iron fence protecting the grave stones.

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How does a cemetery end up at a mall? It's actually the other way around. According to Atlas Obscura, the family plots had been at this location for more than 150 years. When construction of the Rotterdam Square Mall was proposed in 1977 many residents were opposed to the project and they used the cemetery as one main reason not to build.

As a compromise, developers built the wall and gate that surround the cemetery today and agreed to maintain the grave site and that is why there is a cemetery at a mall in Schenectady. Let's take a closer look.

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