Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Please continue standing strong against abrasively destructive practices on gravestones

Sharing this link to a story from Indiana. It is one we have to pay attention to because it impacts Ohio as well.
The use of the dreaded nyalox brushes rotating at high speeds on power drills over grave markers as seen in this story, continues in Ohio and the Midwest Region.
Truly, this is not a subject I wish to share or re-visit.
But, more importantly, I understand that it can't be swept under the carpet to hide and hope it dies a merciful death - because it won't - unless we keep sharing what we have learned and practice from the NCPTT.
Please know though that now more than ever, there are reputable and properly trained cemetery preservationists who do clean, repair, and reset grave markers, those who practice and adhere to the "Do No Harm" guidelines set forth by the NCPTT - National Center for Preservation, Technology, and Training of the NPS - National Park Service, would NEVER even think of using this abrasive and aggressive method to clean gravestones. And, neither should the rest of us who take it upon ourselves to clean our ancestors' grave markers.
Regardless of any claims that this type of work is "restoring the stone to its original condition", the NCPTT strongly disputes that based on their exhaustive studies and research.
Unfortunately, too many of Ohio's gravestones have already been subjected to being "nyaloxed"during hands-on workshops by anyone using these power tools. Some outfits have been hired to work on whole cemeteries in townships and villages across the Buckeye State.
Untold numbers of paying attendees to these workshops have gone out on their own to wield power tools applying strong pressure onto the surfaces of gravestones.
We owe it to ourselves, and the grave markers we might clean, to turn our attention to learning from the NCPTT itself.
Mary Striegel's blog post of July 24, 2014 - "Abrasive Cleaning of Grave Markers" is among the go-to resources for learning the truth about the destructiveness of using power tools on grave stones.
On December 12, 2016, the NCPTT published their "Preservation Brief #48" that has been another invaluable resource and teaching tool.
Excerpt from Preservation #48:
"The National Park Service released its latest preservation brief that focuses on the care and preservation of historic cemetery grave markers. Cemeteries across the nation reflect the customs and values of the community. As in past eras, people desire a way to show respect by caring for cemeteries. From rural graveyards to expansive urban cemeteries, there is a need for information on the best practices to preserve grave markers. NPS Preservation Brief #48, Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries, hopes to fill that need. This brief provides guidance for owners, property managers, administrators, in-house maintenance staff, volunteers, and others in preserving and protecting grave markers."
Yes, preserving and protecting grave markers is a goal that is best accomplished with the least invasive methods possible.
Remembering that not every grave marker is stable and sound enough for cleaning.
So, before you pick up any soft bristle brush -- which is the only kind you would use -- please take the necessary time to evaluate the marker to determine if:
First, it truly needs cleaning and,
Second, ask yourself honestly is the grave marker stable enough to apply even the least amount of pressure to clean it.
Never attempt to do something you are unsure of -- and with any gravestone "Less is More" is a sound principle to keep in mind because many mistakes cannot be undone.