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Wrightsboro conservation effort takes off

Visit our Wrightsboro special section

cemetery1.jpg

Tom Covington brushes a headstone in the Wrightsboro Cemetery.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
Work is progressing smoothly at the historic Wrightsboro Cemetery, where experts have been carefully repairing broken headstones, rebuilding a box tomb and resetting some leaning and toppled markers.

Preservation specialists have been working in the cemetery for two weeks, and will wind up their efforts next week, said Michael Trinkley of the non-profit Chicora Foundation, a leading heritage preservation group.

"Every project has its own challenges," said Mr. Trinkley as the group fashioned a clever swivel and hoisted a one-ton granite obelisque onto its base. The obelisque, which had fallen over years ago at the base of a 100-year old cedar tree, was just one challenge in the picturesque cemetery. Mr. Trinkley's group also rebuilt a box tomb that resembled a pile of rubble.

"Sometimes we had to start from scratch, and build it back up again," said Nicole Southerland of the Chicora Foundation.

Workers also reset some headstones and rejoined others that were in pieces using a small bit of special glue and internal anchors.

"We want people to focus on the stones and not notice the repair job," Ms. Southerland said. All the work is considered low impact and is done to preserve the natural charm of the country cemetery.

When working, Mr. Trinkley and his crew take great care to retain the historical character and to follow the work of the original artisan.

"Each monument is put together a little differently, and there are tremendous differences from one local artisan to another."

"You don't want to substitute your artistry for the original artistry," he said.

Over the past week, several volunteers have shown up to help.

"We like to acquaint people with the correct way to do things." That way, once his crew has left, interested people can carry on work in the cemetery, he said.

Local resident Edward Turner was at the site Monday, and he likes the results so far.

"I think it looks real good. The place was definitely in need of the work," he said.

Mr. Turner isn't alone in his sentiments; there has been plenty of positive feedback, said Epp Wilson, who is spearheading the $20,000 conservation effort.

"I am delighted it is happening and that we have such a professional outfit doing such a meticulous job" he said.



Web posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2004


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