My name is Lowell Herzog, and I am a fifth-generation Texan. I was born and reared in Brenham, where I still make my home. I attended Blinn College and transferred to Texas A&M University where I earned two degrees—a B.A. in History (1989) and another in English (1991). I taught high school for 21 years until my Type 1 diabetes made working on a fixed schedule everyday a great challenge. I resigned and continued to do what I had already been doing in my spare time and during the summer—conserving gravestones.
I received my training from Jonathan Appell who owns Gravestone Conservation (see "Links to Associated Sites" page) in West Hartford, CT and was certificated by the International Preservation Studies Center in Mount Carroll, IL. Mr. Appell's expertise of more than 25 years well prepared me to begin my business. It also assured me that if I were to follow the “best practices” known to, and developed by, organizations such as the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS), the Chicora Foundation, the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC), I could provide a much-needed service to cemeteries, organizations and individuals who wanted to see gravestones preserved. I am a member of AGS and AIC (although I will no longer be a member of AIC after 2018.)
As of Sept 1, 2018, I have conserved over 350 stones, the work ranging from simple cleanings to consolidation of broken stones with infilling of cracks to fabrication of new bases for tablet-style stones. Some have been as small as 14 inches high, while another was over 11feet tall. I have been hired by clients from Alaska to Virginia to conserve family gravestones in and around southeast Texas.
For any job, I will:
1. use the most compatible and appropriate materials for the job at hand.
2. follow the “best practices” known to the field of stone conservation at the
3. do the very best work that I am capable of doing.
4. guarantee my work and materials to stand the test of time, excepting acts of
nature, accidents, vandalism, or the like. To ensure this, I make a point to
revisit conserved stones on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, and encourage clients
to contact me if they see something amiss.
5. follow the the AIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.
6. record my work through photographs for my own records as well as the
I consider myself a conservator first and foremost. I cannot "restore" a marble gravestone to its original condition and would never claim to be able to. I treat each stone as an artistic work, carved by an individual to commemorate another's existance. Just as a professional conservator strives to keep a 500 year-old painting or 4000 year-old Egyptian grave relect in safe condition and preserve it for the future, I do the same for gravestones.
I will conserve gravestones in roughly a 160 mile radius from Brenham. If you are outside this area, give me a call, as I can make exceptions if the job warrants.
**Bids and estimates are no cost to you if you are within 40 miles of Brenham; for greater distances, I charge $.25/mile beyond 40, but the cost is credited to the final amount if my bid is accepted and I take the job. For groups or organizations in a county or town, I can assess several cemeteries in one visit and you can split the cost.
The cost to clean a stone can vary from $20 for a small stone, to $125 or more for a heavily soiled, 4/5-life size angel or very large monument. Most are $50 or less.
Resetting will run between $70 for a small tablet to upwards of $1000 for a large monument that is obstructed by trees, curbing, or nearby stones. Most resets cost between $100 and $300.
Broken stones/infilling are on a case-by-case basis, as each stone and its condition is unique. I will remove smaller stones that are broken into many pieces from the cemetery and take them to my shop as it is much cheaper for you and I can control the environment for conservation. Stones broken in two pieces are usually conserved at the cemetery, unless it is during the winter time.
Even though I have posted 'usual' costs, I still quote work on each stone on a case-by-case basis.
Due to the extreme heat, I am not working every day, and on days that I do work, I may not stay on site beyond 1 p.m. or so.
Thoughts for Summer
I was recently visiting a cemetery to inspect a stone for conservation work and I spoke with several workers who were taking a break.
The majority of cemeteries provide mowing and trimming, but do not do any work in regards to gravestones. When I asked about this, the worker said his crew will straighten some stones and several years ago had taken bleach and cleaned a number of headstones in the cemetery. While some may ask if this is important, household bleach is known to cause damage to marble and should never be used. (See U S gov't report on cleaning solutions in the "Links" section, and check under the section "Recommendations" of the report).
As well, in every cemetery that I know of, the stones are property of the family, even if the plots are not; would you allow someone to paint your house or automobile without your permission? Sadly, the bleach damage to the stone is not something that can be repaired, as it affects the material (marble) itself, not just the surface.
Check on policies and procedures at the cemeteries wherein your family is interred to see what they do and don't do. In many cases, they may not even be aware of such harmful things, and would be happy to follow the "best practices" in the field.
If you'd like more information, contact me at
(979) 836-7715, email@example.com
or browse my website.