Clay County Cemetery Restoration Workshop
The September 10th Center Point Cemetery Restoration Workshop was made possible through a Historic Preservation Education Grant from Indiana Landmarks, Indiana Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The workshop was a success due to the volunteers, participants, speakers, Boy Scouts, community members, and businesses that donated items or gave the society discounts on their merchandise.
On September 3rd, the Saturday prior to the workshop, a group of Boy Scouts from Troops 101 and 95 worked in the historic section of the Center Point Cemetery cleaning up around the stones in preparation for the workshop. The workers pruned trees, removed yucca plants, and filled a large dumpster with limbs, weeds, vines, and other plant materials. They also cleaned along the north edge of the cemetery making it possible to mow around the stones that were near the edge of the woods.
On the day of the workshop the guest speaker, Jeannie REGAN-DINIUS of the Indiana Department of National Resources, explained the Indiana codes relating to county cemeteries, responsibilities of local officials, and how to obtain permits to probe for stones covered with soil. She also gave a presentation about SHAARD, the Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database of the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA), which allows users to search information on known historic resources throughout Indiana. SHAARD includes data concerning the Indiana Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry, historic bridges, properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, properties listed in the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures, and historic theaters in Indiana. To learn more about SHAARD, go to http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/4505.htm
During the workshop instructors Wayne LANGMAN and Jeff DICKERSON discussed their handout, which included information about tools and products to use for cleaning, resetting, and repairing damaged and broken stones. The handout gave step-by-step information and included helpful photographs. After the morning classroom instruction and lunch, the group planned on going to the historic section of the Center Point Cemetery for hands-on work cleaning, resetting, and repairing broken stones.
However, the morning rain continued into the afternoon; therefore, Wayne and Jeff improvised by bringing in a broken stone, which was repaired “on site.” They demonstrated the proper method for mixing the epoxy and showed techniques for holding the pieces together while the epoxy dried. Boy Scouts handed out spray bottles, goggles, and small brushes to be used by the participants when cleaning cemetery stones.
Since the afternoon session was rained out, a make-up workday was held on October 8th. Even though only a few of those in attendance at the workshop were able to return for the make-up workshop, many leaning stones were re-positioned, a few stones were reattached to their bases, one stone was repaired and reset, and one stone was recovered from a prone position in the grass, cleaned, and reset on its base. Boy Scouts helped deliver rock and dirt in the wheelbarrow to those resetting stones. They and their parents also cleaned several stones and hauled away debris.
As a result of the workshop, the appearance of the historic section of the Center Point Cemetery is much improved. Vines, weeds, yucca plants, and other debris were removed from around the stones. Several leaning stones are now standing perpendicular, and some stones have been repaired and reset on existing or new bases.
To download a copy of the “Cleaning & Restoration of Gravestones” pamphlet created for the workshop, click the link below, and a copy will be sent to your Downloads folder.