Jul 28, 2014
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Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation

The Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds would like to connect more people in the community to repairing and maintaining Bedford's 30 cemeteries.

Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation Bedford Committee Steps Up Cemetery Preservation

"Cemeteries can be like outdoor museums—quiet, restful, educational and fascinating."

That's what Jenny Weisburger said while describing the work of the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds, of which she recently became president.

The core group, including Jenny Weisburger, John Stockbridge, Dick Farrell, Dick Schmidt, Tony Godino, Paula Desperito, Ray Hinkley, and Jim Renwick, recently completed work at the cemetery at Lake Marie Burial Ground on Haines Road, where one Revolutionary veteran and four Civil War veterans are buried.

They picked up broked pieces of headstone, studied old maps from the 1940s and 1970s and devised a plan to refurbish  the stones—almost like a jigsaw puzzle, said Weisburger.

The work of volunteers is critical for tasks like straightening and cleaning stones, but the help of a professional conservationist is necessary to completely repair them, she said.

So members of the Friends are meeting with the town board tonight in a special work session to present their case for securing some support for their work in preserving the town's history.

There are 30 cemeteries that are owned by churches, the town or private landowners, according to Lisbeth "Boo" Fumagalli, town clerk, who sits on the cemetery committee which includes members from the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds.

The town cares for some of them, including the Old Burying Ground in Bedford Village which dates to 1681, but does not preserve and restore the gravestones. The Friends' ongoing efforts have included an and a cocktail party fundraiser last fall. Now they'd like to spread the word to community groups and other volunteers that their help is needed.

"Right now we're meeting to identify how to best accomplish our work and prioritize the cemeteries in which we're working, including Buxton and Chichester, which are still active," said Weisburger.

To learn more about their work or make a donation, visit their website.

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