1 This is the Lounsbery Cemetery, off of Guard Hill Road in Bedford, where some gravestone restoration work has been taking place.
2 This is a map of the Lounsbery Cemetery, showing the graves. The symbols indicate whether the graves have headstones only, or with both head and foot stones. The half-size symbols indicate infants' graves.
3 The mission of the Friends of Bedford Burying Grounds is to work with the Town of Bedford, to preserve and conserve Bedford's historic burying grounds. They are a group of local volunteers who work toward the conservation and preservation of Bedford’s over 30 private and public cemeteries.
4 The group does much of the work themselves, but when a gravestone is badly damaged, they call in trained professionals - in this case Beyond The Gravestone.
5 This is Lisa and Will Cornell, who attended a Gravestone Preservation training program taught by Jonathan Appell, who is well-respected in the field of gravestone and masonry conservation and restoration.
6 When a headstone is broken in two, Will and Lisa cinch it with wood and straps and lift it in place using a tripod and chain hoist.
7 This stone was washed first using a mild architectural antimicrobial cleaner and soft brushes to remove algae, lichen, fungi, and other stains. It was glued together with a special epoxy and was left to set overnight.
8 The next day, Lisa got to work on the actual restoration of the gravestone.
9 She mixed up a batch of lime mortar, which is lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It's one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and was used extensively in Ancient Rome and Greece.
10 The lime mortar was forced into the crack where the stone was joined together.
11 Lisa worked her way around the stone.
12 She filled in front and back.
13 In her kit, Lisa has all sorts of stone patching materials and various pigments and textures to choose from, depending on the type of stone that the gravestone is made from.
14 She also has precision tools for the detail work of sculpting letters and numbers back in. Restoration is an art and Lisa is very good at her craft.
15 In the far corner of Lounsbery Cemetery, another headstone had been broken off below the soil line. Will dug down, exposing the base, which is typically 1/3 of the exposed stone deep. Epoxy joined the two pieces back together.
16 A level was used to straighten as much as possible.
17 Pea gravel was poured around the base of the stone, providing extra strength.
18 The soil was returned and tamped down, covering over the repair.
19 And grass seed was sprinkled around the repaired gravestone.
20 Sadly, some gravestones have been broken in many pieces.
21 Fitting them back together is just like a puzzle.
22 A flashlight is used to help read the engraving, badly worn away by acid rain.
23 After scouring the area, these are all the pieces found. Lisa and Will took this gravestone to their shop, where they will build a stainless steel frame to set it in and fill in as best they can.
24 The restored gravestone in Lounsbery Cemetery of John Tyler who died May 10, 1811 - aged 15 years.
25 Another restoration of the headstone of Sally, wife of James Tyler who died Feb. 6, 1847 - aged 77 years
26 A couple of miles away is Buxton Cemetery.
27 Buxton is a much larger cemetery with several sections.
28 Lisa and Will were asked to work on certain gravestones here, as well. This stone had fallen, or was knocked off of its base.
29 The base was pretty badly damaged.
30 The upper part of the base was lifted off from the bottom part.
31 The bottom was scrubbed clean.
32 Lisa mixed the two-part epoxy.
33 When the epoxy was blended she transferred it to the base.
34 The upper part of the base was set back in place over the epoxy.
35 The tripod with the chain hoist was set up.
36 Will lifted the headstone in place.
37 And the straps were wrapped around the headstone.
38 Lisa applied more epoxy to join the headstone to the base.
39 The headstone was hoisted up and set on the base.
40 A check for levelness
41 Minor adjustments were made.
42 This is what Clarrasa T. Fowler's gravestone looks like after cleaning and restoration. By the way, Clara died January 28, 1874 at the age of 28 years, 6 months, and 22 days.
43 Clara's father Weeden was buried next to her in 1898. His stone has yet to be cleaned.