The Mound Cemetery unveils its 26 new tombstones
Washington County Historic Society completes two-year preservation project
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -
The Mound Cemetery in Marietta completed its two-year preservation project.
Members of the organization came out to see the 26 new tombstones being placed Tuesday morning.
The Washington County Historical Society’s tombstone preservation started the project two years ago.
The start, the group walked through the cemetery, documenting the tombstones and chose the stones that needed to be replaced.
Mike Ryan, a Member of the Washing County Historical Society, had the idea for this project.
He said, “Let’s identify tombstones that are beyond hope, unreadable, or hopefully even places where tombstones are missing.”
To pay for the project, they used a fund specifically dedicated to the preservation of Mound cemetery.
The money in the fund is from the sales of the mound cemetery book written by a Marietta College professor.
Ryan explained that when the author died, he left the rights to the book to the historical society. His only condition was that all of the money from the sales goes back into the cemetery.
The project required a lot of hands-on work from Ryan.
“We now have photographs of every piece of stonework in here. We have a map that is 99 percent complete as far as the known burials, hope to finish that up here shortly,” explained Ryan.
The historical society worked with the City of Marietta to complete this project. And according to Ryan, the new stones aren’t the only thing to come from the project.
“When we presented this to the city of Marietta they thought it was a great idea and approved up working up here and also requested is there any chance that we could actually come up with a map of who’s in each grave because their records show who owns the piece of ground, but there was never a map made of who is in each grave.”
He continued explaining what needs done.
“We’ve got 50 more tombstones that are not readable, we’ve got a couple hundred beyond that that should probably have new ones placed at them. And I can tell you from this project that there are at least 700 unmarked graves in this cemetery.”
Mayor Josh Schlicher expanded on what the city’s next steps are to help.
“There’s some proposals of doing some ground penetrating radar of the cemetery and so if we do that this year, we can see exactly what’s in the ground.”
Ryan says that on top of the money from the book sales, he hopes for a grant to help with funding for the future projects.
Mayor Schlicher said it’s important to preserve this history, explaining that he grew up coming to this cemetery.
“These are city assets that can’t be duplicated. It takes so long to establish a cemetery like this and it’s not something that you can start and build. It takes generations and it takes hundreds of years to develop this.”
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