Preservationist Demonstrates Gravestone Restoration in Downieville

By Carl Butz

The top half of the B.T. Eggleston gravestone as found in the Downieville cemetery Jonathon Appell, preservationist, when he visited the historic site on Monday, June 20th.

(DOWNIEVILLE) – Thanks to the efforts of Corri Jimenez and Jan Hamilton of the Sierra County Historical Society, Jonathan Appell of Atlas Preservation in Conneticut made the Downieville Cemetery one of the sites he is visiting during his current tour of graveyards in the lower-48 states.

As a result, this past Monday, from 9 AM to 3 PM, over 20 people (mostly from Sierra County, but also from Quincy, Sacramento, and Reno) were provided with instruction on the use of tools and materials needed to clean, repair, and reset gravestones.

For example, those in attendance – including local cemetery trustees, Dean Fisher (Downieville), Cheryl Durrett (Forest/Alleghany), and Jen Kennedy (Sattley) – learned much: how to remove lichens from gravestones with a biological solution, how epoxy does a wonderful job of adhering two pieces of stone when mixed with ground marble and secured with clamps while drying, how leveling a headstone is important to preventing future damage, and how the process of adhering can involve lead and wood spacers, epoxy, caulking, and, quite possibly, sturdy poles and a winch to lift hundreds of pounds of stone into place.

The Eggleston gravestone after being repaired by Dean Fisher, Trustee for the Downieville Cemetery District, during Jonathan Appell’s 48-State Tour of graveyards.

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