Gravestone Restoration: McKeownes

By Joe Byrne

The gravestones for Ellen and Dominick McKeowne were a lot more tricky to restore than the ones described in the blog entry immediately following this one.

As you can see by the “before” photo, the gravestone on the left was tipped over with the TOP half buried in the earth. The gravestone on the right was face down and almost completely buried. It took a lot of digging and lifting to get those stones out of the ground. And they were heavy!

Here is the “after” shot:

The one on the left is the one that was nearly buried face down. Which confirms something I discovered last year: having the inscription side of a gravestone face down in the earth actually helps preserve the inscription! I assumed the opposite, but whatever creatures or moisture are active under the soil, they don’t do much damage, compared to the open air, sun, and rain. (The kind of stone also makes a difference – some, like limestone, are more prone to damage than others, such as granite).

As much as I tried to make this particular restoration a one-person job, in the end it was beyond me and I called on the help of one of our super volunteers, Seymour. Thanks, Seymour!