Cemetery commission narrows in on grant goals
The Eureka Springs Cemetery Commission
will be focusing on headstones near the
cemetery entrance for its conservation grant
While the cemetery’s nomination for the
National Register of Historic Places is being
reviewed, the commission is proceeding
with an application to the Arkansas Historic
Preservation Program’s cemetery grant. City
preservation officer Glenna Booth said the
grant application is due March 9, and the
commission can request between $5,000 and
The commission voted at its February
meeting to pursue the conservation of headstones
as its grant project and held a workshop
at the cemetery on Thursday, Feb. 22,
to identify which areas are most in need of
Bruce Wright, a local resident who recently
retired after 12 years working as a
stonemason with the National Park Service,
attended the workshop to offer his expert advice
on the cleaning and restoration process
Cemetery superintendent Pat Lujan led the
group to a large leaning headstone near the
front of the cemetery that he said was in danger
of falling over.
“It’s a beautiful piece,” Lujan said. “We
want to take care of it before it falls.”
Wright said monument companies would
probably fix the headstone by dismantling it
into sections, working on the footing and resetting
it. This leads to the possibility of chipping
the corners on the headstone, he said,
and trucks may not be able to get in between
the rows to work on certain stones.
“The more you handle it, the more subject
it is to damage,” he said. “I have the ways and
means to repair it.”
Wright said he would use a hydraulic jack
to lift the stone and put a metal plate and
boards at the bottom to prevent damaging the
base of the stone.
“Then we’ll pour and inject concrete into
it,” he said. “We’ll save a lot of money, and
we can do a lot more monuments this way.”
For the cleaning of headstones, Wright
said he recommends D/2.
“It’s environmentally friendly and has
been approved through the park service,” he
said. “D/2 will go into the pores of the stone
and get behind the lichen, moss and mold.
This stuff is rooting in just like a plant. You
want to kill that biological growth.”
Wright continued, “On these limestone
monuments, this stuff is feeding off the minerals
in the stone. It’s eating away at it and
will create pockets.”
The lettering on stones is created by sandblasting
in most cases, he said, which leaves
the pores of the stone open. He said water
then gets in, allowing lichen, moss and mold
“That’s why a lot of the letters and numbers
are deteriorating,” Wright said.
He said he would recommend the commission
purchase a large water tank, a pressure
washer and a 55-gallon drum of D/2 in
order to clean the headstones in the cemetery.
Secretary and treasurer David Sallee said
the cleaning and conservation efforts would
probably take years.
“As big as this cemetery is and as many
old ones are in need, we’re talking a couple
of years,” he said.
“Yeah, you can’t do all of this in a year,”
Booth suggested the commission invest in
a conservation program.
“If we invest in putting together a conservation
program and getting the equipment,
we can schedule a seasonal work day where
we can train people how to clean the stones,”
Commission chairwoman Susan Tharp
asked if the priority for the grant should be
repairing leaning and broken headstones or
cleaning old ones.
“We can always train people to clean headstones
a lot easier than we can hire someone
to fix them,” she said.
The commission decided to focus the grant
application on repairing leaning and broken
headstones near the front of the cemetery and
along the road since they are the most visible.
Tharp said they would concentrate on headstones
made out of local limestone and marble
since those are deteriorating the fastest.
“What about driving down the road and
picking what you can first look at to start
with?” Sallee suggested.
“I think it would be a good idea to focus on
two levels back from the road,” said commissioner
Luther “L.B.” Wilson, “and see how
many we can do. We could get a lot of those
old ones done.”
“I think if you utilize your money toward
the font and people see it more they’ll get on
board and maybe volunteer,” she said.
Booth said she would get a quote from
Wright on the cost of repairing the leaning
and damaged monuments and get a quote on
both the equipment and the cost of setting up
a conservation workshop for cleaning headstones.