The Yeakel Cemetery Preservation Committee determined that significant cemetery wall damage from erosion and falling trees needed to be addressed. The committee raised funds from Bowman Properties, an anonymous donor, the Schwenkfelder Church, and others in order to carry out the conservation work. In the summer of 2020, the committee was able to hire Manero Masonry to rebuild and repair the north and east portions of the Yeakel Cemetery perimeter wall. The remainder of the wall repair project will be completed in 2021-2022.
Below are two photographs showing the damaged walls that needed repair. Following those are photos showing the wall conservation work in progress.
In June 2019, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia awarded the Yeakel Cemetery a Grand Jury Award for Preservation and Conservation.
With this award, the Preservation Alliance recognized the Yeakel Cemetery Preservation Committee for its ten years of preservation and conservation of the site. The Yeakel Cemetery is a time capsule of the 18th century preserved in the middle of woodland setting, surrounded but unseen by suburban houses and busy roads. The Preservation Alliance recognized the work of the Committee, which has restored this little known historic resource and rescued it from obscurity.
The Committee exemplifies a collaborative approach between diverse partners, including local historical institutions, a church, a land trust, an amateur historian, preservationists, neighbors, as well as volunteers and donors. These partnerships have led to increased awareness and preservation of a formerly hidden cultural resource.
The Yeakel Cemetery Preservation Committee has partnered with the two closest historical societies, the Springfield Township Historical Society and the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, as well as Natural Lands, all of which have been instrumental in supporting the Committee’s efforts with expertise, fundraising support, volunteers, and more.
Cemetery tours are offered periodically to the public. Jack Yeakel and Jerry Heebner have led the tours, explaining the background of the site, the history of the Schwenkfelder Church, information on people buried there, and connections to the American Revolution.
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
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.
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!
On Saturday, September 8th volunteers, led by Jack Yeakel, gathered at the cemetery to deal with a collapsed portion of the stone wall. A 30 foot section of the wall came down in 2011, toppling into the graveyard. Using wheelbarrows, buckets and elbow grease, the crew moved several tons of debris to an area outside of the graveyard. The salvaged stone will be used for future wall repair. The volunteers also collected fallen branches, pulled weeds and picked up litter. Thank you to all those who braved the heat, your effort made the cemetery safer and cleaner for our up-coming tours. A round of applause for all those involved: