This Spring, a second round of tombstone conservation took place at Yeakel Cemetery. Kristin Cardi, of Materials Conservation Co., having just completed treatment of Ben Franklin’s grave in Old City, once again led a team of conservators, technicians, and volunteers at Yeakel Cemetery.
This time the crew focused on the Northern section of the cemetery. Many grave markers had fallen and some were separated from their bases.
The team drilled out the old rusted iron rods and joined the stones to their bases using fiberglass dowels and epoxy.
Foundations were excavated and prepared with crushed stone for drainage. Then the assembled grave markers were reset level and plumb.
Finally, the tombstones were gently cleaned with a treatment of biocide.
More than half of the monuments have received high quality conservation treatment and the cemetery’s appearance has improved dramatically in recent years but more importantly, the careful steps that have been taken will help ensure this place will be around for future generations to enjoy. Only one more round of tombstone conservation is needed to complete the cemetery. Help us continue our mission by making a donation.
Finally, after several years of gathering proposals, fund-raising and site preparation, work begins on the tombstones. Kristin Cardi, of Materials Conservation Co., led the team of conservators, technicians, and volunteers that worked at the cemetery over the course of several weeks in October.
A treatment program was created based on priorities identified by both the Yeakel Cemetery Preservation Committee and Materials Conservation during multiple site visits earlier this year.
Kristin Cardi repairs a headstone
Conservation treatments included resetting misaligned markers, mechanical repairs, grouting and filling areas of material loss, re-pointing open mortar joints, cleaning biological growth, and consolidating fragile markers.
The work completed this October is phase one of a three-part treatment program that will address each monument. Phase two is tentatively scheduled to take place this Spring and, through the generous support of donors like you, funds will be raised this year for Phase three!
Special thanks to:
Architectural Conservators: Kristin Cardi, Marco Federico, Leigh Hassler
Conservation Technician: Toby McQueston
Volunteers: Luca Dragani, Bethany Nevius
Back by popular demand,we will once again host tours of the cemetery to raise funds for the continuing preservation project. Jack Yeakel will introduce us to some of the residents of the cemetery and explain the significance of the site from its beginning before the American Revolution to its connections to landmarks we see today. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to visit this fascinating, little known historic site right in our own backyards.
Please note that there is an uphill walk on a trail to the cemetery site, and can be difficult for those with mobility issues.
Tour Date: Saturday September 19th at 1 PM and 3 PM.
Admission will be $15
Visitors are encouraged to pre-register by calling 215-233-4600.
Having completed the tree work back in February, the cemetery was finally ready for some much needed site work. S.Vecchione Inc. of Oreland brought in several pieces of equipment to do the job.
Several large piles of debris needed to be cleared to prepare for the final grading
A mini excavator is useful for pulling out rotted tree stumps, compacting the back fill and moving small piles of debris.
This tracked skid steer loader has an attachment that can grip logs.
This machine was also used to re-contour the ground on the uphill side of the cemetery to keep rain water away from flowing into the stone wall and undermining the foundation.
After fine tuning the final grade, grass seed and straw mulch was spread to minimize erosion. In about a month the site will be green with new grass.
Special thanks to Tory Vecchione for bringing his equipment, experience, and professionalism to the project. A beautiful job!
Eleven months after the completion of the Cemetery Survey and Condition Assessment Report we are able to begin the tree work. The work was delayed when we were forced to replace our original arborist. It took several months doing walk-throughs and collecting bids before selecting Cox and Company to do the work.
Cox and Company used a tracked, self-propelled, high reach. This special piece of equipment is well suited for sites that are tough to access and can easily reach the top of this 60′ Sassafras.
John Cox cuts the limbs of this 50′ Maple and uses ropes to lower them to the ground.
The close proximity of the grave stones make this work quite challenging. The ground crew receives the limbs and carries them out of the graveyard.
The boom on the high reach is long enough to extend deep into the graveyard while remaining outside of the cemetery walls. Any one of these trees could be blown down in a storm causing catastrophic damage to the cemetery.
The removal of these trees helped to eliminate what was perhaps the cemetery’s greatest threat. Thanks so much to John Cox and his crew for a job well done!
We are pleased to announce that work has begun at the cemetery! Using some of the $15,000 we have raised so far, we have started with Phase I of our preservation work. On Oct. 28th, Kreillick Conservation began the critical task of surveying the site. A team of conservators and student volunteers led by Scott Kreillick, laid out a grid of string lines over the cemetery. This grid was used to record the precise location of each monument and gravestone. The team then numbered the stones, photographed them, and recorded detailed information for each one. They also assessed the condition of the stones and prioritized them to identify those that are most vulnerable. All of the data collected will be organized into a report that will be archived, ensuring the preservation of this precious information. If something bad were to happen, like a tree falling down, the report will help us put things back where they belong.
Special thanks to conservators Scott Kreillick, Allison Kreillick, Gabriel Harrison and volunteers Mandi Rush, Shannon Anastas, Jillian Tugya.
Please join us for a volunteer clean up as we prepare to begin Phase I of the preservation work. meet us at the cemetery on Saturday, October 19th from noon to 4:oo. The work will involve pulling weeds, raking leaves, and removing debris from within the graveyard. The bulk of this work will be done by hand to prevent damaging the stones with power tools. Please bring gloves and wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Rakes, clippers and other hand tools will be provided but feel free to bring your own. Rain date is the following week October 26. We are looking forward to seeing you!
The Yeakel Cemetery can be difficult to find. It’s not visible from any road and is surrounded by private property. As indicated in deeds going back to 1802, there is an easement of 10 – 12 feet wide leading to the graveyard from Stenton Ave. and for over 200 years visitors have taken this path to the cemetery. Today, visitors must go to the rear of a rehabilitation center at 8833 Stenton Ave. Wyndmoor PA and find the path leading to the cemetery.
This image shows the path, in yellow, going from the rehabilitation center to the cemetery. This path is hilly and often has high grass, so use caution. Click on the image for a larger view.
Use this map feature to find 8833 Stenton ave.
Filed under Location, Map
Welcome to our website. We have just published some new pages. Find out about our mission and the committee members at our About Us page. Our Donate page includes a handy letter you can print out and you can follow the project on our Progress page. You can write comments in any of the comments boxes and click follow to be notified of updates. You will definitely want to follow along as this exciting preservation project gets under way. Hope to hear from you soon!
Not just Yeakels. There are other family names within the cemetery. Researching who exactly is buried in the Yeakel Cemetery is a bit of a challenge. Clues are scattered and traditions are difficult to verify. Tombstone research is the most reliable information we have (which is why it is so important to preserve!). Existing inscriptions, and transcriptions completed by researchers in the past, were used to create a list of burials that has just been added to this website. Some of the names were taken from the Schwenkfelder Monument and do not have individual grave markers. These represent the earliest burials. It is also likely that members of the Mack and Nice families are buried here. These families owned the property before 1802 and deed research indicates the land was used as a burying-ground before 1752. A Revolutionary War skirmish took place on this land in December of 1777. Tradition states that casualties from this battle are buried here, but that has not yet been confirmed. Perhaps some of the twenty-four unmarked fieldstones are the graves of some of these people. Please visit the Burials page to view the list.