Independence Cemetery, Independence, TX
I have been working at the cemetery on-and-off for about two years, doing private, family-funded conservation work, such as the Bryan stones and the Clark/Shannon/Pickett plot below. In late April 2017, the Independence Preservation Trust decided to partially fund work on about 50 stones, which will be completed in early 2018. Photos of stones completed are also posted to Find-A-Grave with a notation/caption under the photo.
Bryan Family Stones
Late in 2016 after an untrained person used bathroom caulking to try and 'glue' the stone back together and reset it.
I would rather have had the stone in the first photo to deal with, as "repairs" such as this often deposit silicones in the stone and they can be very costly and difficult to remove. Luckily, this one did not.
Wm. Joel Bryan headstone
The bottom portion was mortared into the base on May 5, 2017 and the mortar was allowed to cure for a month. On June 8, 2017, I epoxied the top portion on; the stone was cleaned with D/2 on June 22 when this photo was taken. Despite its dark color, as the biological growth dies and is flushed from the stone, the color will lighten. Infill with NHL and marble dust will be done in cooler weather to cover the break and missing portions.
The Clark/Shannon/Pickett Plot
Stones Conserved as Part of the Independence Preservation Trust Funding
There is a great deal of information on the Internet regarding gravestones, gravestone repair, and the like. While some of the information is truly horrible, there are reliable sites that will steer you in the right direction if you have questions or need more information. The ones below are a good starting point; I will add more as I locate sites that have accurate, proven and truthful information, or that carry good quality tools for cemetery groups.
Texas Historical Commission--Cemetery Preservation
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training https://www.ncptt.nps.gov
Chicora Foundation cemetery conservation/preservation www.chicora.org
Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) www.gravestonestudies.org
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) www.conservation-us.org
Gravestone Conservation (Jon Appell) www.gravestoneconservation.com
Gravestone Preservation (Jon Appell) www.gravestonepreservation.info
This site is a "must read" for your own knowledge or if you are considering hiring
a conservator for gravestone work.
D/2 Biological Solution www.d2bio.com
U S gov't report on cleaning solutions NCPTT/VA
LimeWorks.us (Ecologic mortar and info) http://www.limeworks.us/home.php
T & T Tools (Smart Stick probes) www.mightyprobe.com
Save Austin's Cemeteries www.sachome.org
See how Austin's Cemeteries are being helped with an active group.
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.