Investigating damaged and toppled-over graves in Uniondale. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

Dozens of decades-old headstones across Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale have collapsed and appear to have been damaged over time, worrying some Nassau families who come to the Hempstead Town-run facility to visit their lost loved ones.

John Scalesi, of Bellmore, comes to the sprawling 158-acre cemetery three times per week to visit the graves of his parents and brothers, which have thus far remained in stable condition.

But he found dozens of other headstones throughout Greenfield — Long Island's only publicly-owned cemetery — that have fallen into disrepair and appear to have been neglected.

“I'm hurt and the other families must be hurt,” Scalesi said Tuesday, as he encouraged the cemetery to “do the right thing” and restore the damaged plots.

On its website, the town says all Greenfield “memorials are beautiful in their own way” and that “plots are affordable and well-maintained by the Town of Hempstead.”

But at the cemetery Tuesday, Newsday found about three dozen headstones lying face down that had collapsed from their base, including, in some cases, multiple stones appearing to belong to the same family.

Most of the fallen headstones were near a century old and several date back to the 1800s and the Civil War. They include a headstone, now lying in the grass, marking the grave of William Bulmer, who records show was the keep of the Hempstead Town Poor House and died in 1892.

“The town is aware of some fallen headstones, which are old and fragile, and have been damaged due to age-related wear or severe weather,” Hempstead spokesman Greg Blower said in a statement. “Although the maintenance of the headstones is the responsibility of the family, and many have been in place for nearly a century, the town is currently in the process of identifying the relatives and investigating the potential of restoring the headstones.”

Terri Williams, of Roosevelt, was at Greenfield Tuesday to select a plot for her late husband, Craig Williams. She called the condition of the fallen headstones “disgraceful” and “unholy.”

“It's a sad thing,” Williams said. “I'm getting ready to pick a spot for my husband and I would hate to know that anyone would not take care of his grave site or desecrate it.”

Greenfield is the only known town-operated cemetery on Long Island and is generally limited to Hempstead residents.

The cemetery includes the remains of roughly 100,000 people, including baseball Hall of Fame pitcher John Montgomery Ward, former Rep. John Alexander Searing, gospel singer Rev. Timothy Wright and blues singer Victoria Spivey, also known as Queen Victoria.

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