Sara Swanson

New roof for the Oak Grove Cemetery building, first of many improvements

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Barry Allen, Michael Tindall and Michael Miner working on the roof of the Oak Grove cemetery building last Wednesday.

A car smashing into it last winter almost meant the end for an old wooden building in Oak Grove Cemetery. The damaged foundation, in addition to the already leaking roof, holes in the floor, crumbling interior and peeling paint made demolishing the structure seem the only reasonable decision. But, thanks to the Sesquicentennial Committee, Emanuel Church, and three hardworking volunteers, it is instead going to be restored!

The building now sits on the eastern edge of the cemetery, but that wasn’t always the case. According to Michael Miner, sexton of the cemetery, it originally was built in the middle. Close to the beginning of the 20th century, a family with an adjacent plot also owned a building and moving company. In exchange for moving the building to its current location, they were given the plots created from land the building was sitting on.

At a wrap-up meeting of the Sesquicentennial committee where one of the topics of discussion was what the money remaining from the Sesquicentennial fundraising could be used for, cemetery board member Michael Tindall broached the subject of the damaged building. The committee voted in addition to a clock monument, to use some of the money to repair the roof and repaint the building. Also at the meeting, Barry Allen, upon hearing about the work that needed to be done, volunteered his services.

Tindall approached Emanuel Church’s Endowment Committee for the additional needed money to restore the interior and to build an overhang area on the back which will house a large map showing the entire cemetery and identifying who is buried in each plot. This money will also purchase markers to go in each section to correspond to the sections shown on the map to make locating plots easier. The Endowment Committee has voted to support the request for the funding but the request will not be “officially approved” until after Emanuel Church’s annual meeting, which will be in January.

The foundation repair will be paid for by insurance.

An area of land directly east of the building has been cleared. This is unrelated to the repairs but will be an expansion of the cemetery itself as there are only a little more than two dozen plots available for sale in the existing cemetery area.

Last Wednesday, Michael Miner, Michael Tindall and Barry Allen re-roofed the building. They hope to have everything restored and installed by early spring!

While investigating the state of the interior for repairs, Miner located the measuring stick his predecessor used to measure graves. He remembers seeing it used when assisting the former sexton. He even remembers to story of where the stick came from. If possible, the stick and its story may be put on display near the maps under the overhang or in the interior of the building.

12-10-17 Editor’s note: Oak Grove Cemetery board members, Jerry Waters is also involved in the reconstruction project. 

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