Saturday, August 6, 2016

August Update

Well we finally finished the area that we are calling the Civil War grove! It looks great. One stone at a time! It is a huge improvement from its earlier condition. It was a shame that these Vet's graves were in the condition that they were. A new video was created and it is uploaded to this blog. The video is just below this paragraph. The video shows what was accomplished at the cemetery so far and where the next phase of the project will begin.




Below are three photos of the same gravestone. Each photo was taken during vast phases of work on the Civil War grove. I think all will be pleased.


Gravestone leaning & obscured by brush

Gravestone still leaning but brush has been removed

Gravestone now righted and cleaned

Sunday, July 31, 2016

June - July Update

We are late with an update on the cemetery restoration project. Much has been accomplished at the cemetery; but first a major "Thank You!" goes out to Fred. He gave an incredible $500 donation to the Friends group for the purchase of materials to aid in restoring grave sites. Three much needed items such as D2, a chemical used to clean gravestones, stone dust for leveling stone bases, and Lithomex - a lime based mortar used for repairing and re-pointing gravestones were purchased with these funds. Other miscellaneous items such as lifting straps and stainless steel bar were purchased also.

It is estimated that within 48 hours the area we have dubbed "Civil War grove" will be complete. Every stone in that section will have been attended to by either cleaning, repairing, rebuilding, leveling, or complete up righting. Other gravestones throughout the cemetery, both large and small have also been taken of. A total of 30+ stones have been worked on so far. It was amazing that while working on specific gravestones other stones were found that tipped over and became covered with dirt over the years. These new found stones were cleaned and up righted.

An unfortunate casualty was the stone of Christian Scherer, a Civil War veteran. His stone was toppled, buried, and also broken into three pieces. His stone was in this condition for many unknown years. The stone laying flat and buried has caused the stone to go into a process of "sugaring." This is where the stone becomes weak, begins to deteriorate and crumble. Christian's stone was found by accident while working on another stone. His stone was in desperate condition but the stone is a work in progress and is being "put back together." A few photos of his gravestone are below.

Epoxying center piece to lower stone

Center piece stone mortared with Lithomex

Three stone pieces epoxied and mortared together


Other cemetery work includes repeated weed whackings and mowing along the Route 85 fence line and the hilly area in the center of the cemetery are being maintained. Hopefully the main growing season for these weedy areas will be over within the next two to three weeks.

The area behind stones cleared of brush
The next area to be tackled will be the section to the right of the old receiving vault building. About a dozen stones in that area need attention and part of that section will also be reclaimed from encroaching weeds and brush.

More photos and a new video will be provided in the next update.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May Update

Now that Spring is here and everything is starting to green and fill in the cemetery is really shaping up. Much was accomplished in the last few weeks. As mentioned in other posts we began our reclamation project at the entrance way closest to Route 85 and worked our way into the rear of the grounds. On that side, everything and also in the far back that was growing inward into the cemetery has been removed. All of the gravestones that were obscured and covered are now wide open and the fence line is clear and free of any growth whatsoever.

An example of sumac & brush encroaching inward

Anyone who visited the cemetery in the past knows the condition of what the perimeter looked like. Now that this work is complete it will be much easier for that side of the grounds to be maintained. Everything was removed- tree trunks, vines, branches, brush, and household garbage. Clear viewing for any type of future maintenance work.

An example of what the majority of the fence line looked like

Most noticeable is that the huge piles of brush that lined the roadway in the far back are now gone along with dead fallen trees. Two photos of the back road are below.

Back roadway, making a turn heading towards Krumkill Road


Roadway into the back closest to Route 85


The next area on deck to be tackled is the center hilly area. The tall weeds were cut down but the remnants need to be removed. Hopefully this area can be wrapped up with four or five hours worth of work.

Now that our project is winding down, numerous thank yous are in order. Full names are purposely withheld. A major donor to this work, K, provided funds to purchase a very decent chainsaw which this work would not have happened without that necessary tool. K, also funded the rental of a brush hog which was brought in to knock down the tall weeds in the center area. Another donor, M, graciously provided a donation that will be used to purchase materials for correcting the damaged grave stones. And finally, an unknown woman, who was visiting a loved one's grave was so impressed that she gave $20 cash to me a couple of days ago. She told me to buy a nice lunch. This money will also go to grave stone refurbishing. Thank You!

Before Memorial Day we hope to have all of the grave stones in a particular section of the cemetery that we have dubbed the "Civil War grove" rehabbed. This slightly overgrown area has numerous Civil War veterans and their wives buried there. Their grave stones are in need of attention before they are further damaged.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Early April Update

This early April update on the clean-up progress at the cemetery also contains a short video that again shows new illegal activity that went on at the cemetery when no one was around. Aside from these new finds, progress is being made in reclaiming the perimeter from inward growth of brush.

At least 75% or more of the outside perimeter has been cleared. The last remaining area to be worked is in the vicinity of the old vault building. Fortunately this area is not as heavy with brush as the previous areas worked.

Soon, a brush hog will be brought in to aid in the final removal of perimeter brush and after the remaining area is worked we will have the piles of brush removed from the cemetery roadway. There will be a new video posted within a couple of weeks to detail what has been accomplished so far and what is remaining to be worked.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

March Update

This March update on the work at the Krumkill Road cemetery also includes a 3 minute video to show what has been going on at the cemetery. Much progress has been made in reclaiming the cemetery perimeter from the encroaching brush. The project should be complete by Mother's Day if all goes well.

Even though work is progressing nicely. It is a true shame that individuals are dumping household garbage, landscaping spoils, and construction debris in the far rear of the cemetery. Dumping garbage is illegal, as we all know; but dumping it in cemetery? Come on! These people will be caught. There are more and more people entering the cemetery to check on it now and with all cell phones now having video capabilities. It is just a matter of time.



Small Pile of Junk Discarded in Cemetery Rear

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February Update

This post is to update anyone interested in the progress of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery on Krumkill Road. A lot of headway has been made. Anyone who is familiar with the cemetery grounds knows that the road traversing through it is horseshoe shaped. We began on the far end of the road and have been cutting down and dragging the brush to the roadway edge. The plan is to follow the perimeter of the grounds around from the front to the back and back out to the front on the other side of the road.

We have been extremely fortunate that the weather has been very mild this winter; allowing us to work there in the Winter months. Two of us have worked approximately three to four hours once a week since just before Christmas and we have now completed the clean-up on almost 100% of one side of the perimeter road. The side that we are working on was very heavy with inward brush growth. We actually found a row of gravestones that were completely obscured and never knew that they were there!

As we work our way around the other side of the grounds, fortunately for us the inward growth is no where as heavy and thick as what we have already worked on. We are hoping that this side will be squared away rather quickly. An email address is posted on this blog for anyone who might be interested in helping us with reclaiming the cemetery. Below are a few photos of the work that has been accomplished by us.

Below are two photos of the area that was completely overgrown with sumac and vines. This area was shown in the first minute of the video that depicted the condition of the grounds.




The next photo shows the fence line of the grounds and how far inward the brush was encroaching inward. The fence line was completely swallowed by vines, etc.



In the video, around 2:20 minutes in, the grave site of Civil War veteran, John Eppele, was documented and the video clearly shows how overgrown this section was. Below are two photos showing what this area looks like now.




Anyone interested in helping out with this project please contact us at AlbanyGraveDigger@gmail.com
Thank you

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Friends of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery

We, the Friends of the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery, are a grassroots volunteer group who notice that this cemetery is in need of help. It is long falling into disrepair. Numerous gravestones are toppled, some crooked, and many un-level. The surrounding wooded area is encroaching into the cemetery and is beginning to conceal the grave sites of those individuals and families who are buried in their plots around the perimeter. Many of these obstructed grave sites are those of veterans including numerous soldiers whom fought in the Civil War.

The cemetery is located in the city of Albany on Krumkill Road at the bend in the road. It is easily accessible from New Scotland Avenue or from the Krumkill Road exit off Rt 85. It is our belief that this is the oldest cemetery within city limits. Albany has three cemeteries within its boundaries. The Evangelical Protestant Cemetery which was established in 1854. St. Paul's Lutheran Church operates Eagle Hill Cemetery on upper Western Avenue was consecrated in 1859. And Graceland Cemetery on Delaware Avenue opened in 1902.



Unfortunately the cemetery's parent church is long closed. Both the church and its cemetery are for sale. The governing body that has control of both properties is the United Church of Christ or UCC. Its main offices are located out of this area. The church building, located in the South End of Albany on the corner of Alexander and Clinton Streets, is in need of desperate repairs to stabilize and bring back the building to its former glory. The cost for this work will be very high making the building a hard sell. The UCC was contacted in September regarding a restoration project. They have neither authorized nor rejected plans for volunteers to do this work. The UCC wants these properties out from under its charge.

Restoring the cemetery will not be exorbitant. Costs will be involved but the main dilemma will be time and effort to complete this task. We plan on handling the costs of restoration on our own. We will not actively solicit for funds but will sincerely accept any donations for this worthy cause. What we will seek are other like-minded individuals who wish to adopt the cemetery with us so that we can create a team for this project. We all know that many hands create less work.

After the cemetery is properly restored to the best of our abilities, it is not our intent to take over the regular maintenance for it. Following the restoration of the grounds and gravestones, this will enable a caretaker to more carefully and more easily maintain the cemetery without further damage to monuments and lawn equipment. Also, with the cemetery restored, it will be less inviting to vandals.

Gravestones are markers and reminders of our ancestors and loved ones. It is the last long-term link for a person. Even the deceased matter. Especially for those long gone veterans from past wars. Many of them sacrificed their lives for our freedom. They should be respected.

A question was posed as to who has the knowledge and capability to restore the gravestones?
- Two of the "Friends" have taken seminars with a professional gravestone conservator and have rehabbed numerous gravestones in other cemeteries.

Preliminary outline of work to be completed:
  • Cemetery perimeter to be cleared of encroaching brush, saplings, and low hanging branches and placed in designated areas for later removal. Volunteers can bring their own yard tools.
  • Breaking the cemetery into sections; inventory all gravestones that need attention such as those that have fallen, are un-level, and are broken.
  • Clean with D2 Biological Solution only the gravestones that will require repair such as epoxing and re-mortaring.
  • As the above work is in progress, photograph each stone before and after work, and transcribe each stone for later inclusion on the Internet.
  • Realize that this will be an on-going project which will not be completed in a few weeks and that every gravestone will not be able to be restored due to its condition and its size.
Example of a broken gravestone needing attention

Example of gravestones that are being overtaken by brush

Costs that will be incurred after cemetery perimeter cleared of brush:
  • Time and labor
  • Materials for gravestone restoration will include
  • Stone dust for leveling gravestones
  • D2 Biological Solution for cleaning stones
  • Lithomex for re-mortaring marble stones
  • Stainless steel rods for re-pinning gravestones
  • Buckets/pails & soft bristle brushes


Arial view of Evangelical Protestant Cemetery