The older the cemetery, the more likely it is that it will need repairs. There are times when those cemeteries are lost forever. Then, there are situations where it is possible for a cemetery to get the restoration and repairs that it requires. Marshfield Hills cemetery is being restored.
Marshfield Hills cemetery is located in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It is owned and operated by the City of Marshfield. Interment.net has a surname index that is split into three parts: A-G, H-R, and S-Z. The index covers dates of death from 1729 through 2016. The oldest documented headstone in Marshfield Hills cemetery is that of Anthony Eames, who died in 1729.
After nearly 300 years, the Marshfield Hills cemetery is getting a “facelift”. The project started in May of 2016 and is expected to be completed sometime in August of 2016. The restoration should result in enabling the headstones to last another 150 years.
Some of the headstones have cracked or have been broken into pieces. Others can no longer be read. There are headstones that had been covered with moss. Many could use a good polish.
A team of technicians from Colonial Stone, a stone-restoration service that is based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, are involved in the restoration. So are a handful of community volunteers. By the end of June of 2016, the team had carefully repaired 165 of the 602 headstones and monuments that are in Marshfield Hills cemetery.
The restoration is one part history lesson and one part science project. The people buried in Marshfield Hills cemetery include town founders and ancestors of current residents. Everyone buried there was a Marshfield resident. Restoring the headstones is a way of making sure that these people will not be forgotten. The project will help preserve the history of the county.
In addition, there is some science involved in getting the project done. The team began with the marble headstones and then moved on to the older ones that were made of slate. It takes less time to restore slate than it does to restore marble. They used a lime-based mortar to fill in the cracks and replace the missing pieces on the headstones.
The total cost of the project is $480,000, which is being paid for with Community Preservation Act money. The project also received a grant not only to restore Marshfield Hills cemetery, but also to restore Winslow Cemetery, which is the oldest cemetery in the City of Marshfield.
Image by Margret Shear on Flickr.
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