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!
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:
Gina Yeakel Boll
Alex Van Haute
“what should we do next?”
It’s hot out here!
Nice job everyone!
Back in March, I was researching some gravestones at the cemetery, and suddenly I was not alone. Some people were walking up the path. In all of my many visits to the place, I’ve never seen anyone there. That’s when I met Jerry Heebner and Liz Jarvis. Jerry is a historian; assigned by the Schwenkfelder Church to clean up the cemetery. Liz is Curator/Archivist for the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. By coincidence they were meeting at the cemetery the same time I was there! Jerry and Liz were meeting to discuss some upcoming tours of the cemetery sponsored by the CHHS. After much discussion about the history of the cemetery, we began to talk about the condition of the place. We noted some of the issues that needed to be addressed and decided that we all should meet to explore a course of action.
We have met several times since then. We have consulted with a cemetery conservationist, masonry expert, arborist, and other professionals. The Schwenkfelder Church has sent out crews to clear out the area for better access. Tours of the cemetery and lectures are being scheduled for the fall. We are developing a preservation plan to serve as a framework for decision-making and fundraising. Anyone interested in helping out is welcome to contact Jack Yeakel via email at firstname.lastname@example.org