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Volunteers work to preserve historic cemetery markers in Vienna

Volunteers work to preserve historic markers in Vienna

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Ray O’Neill, left, and Jeff Ford, both of the Vienna Historical Society, work at straightening a cemetery marker Sunday at the Dunlap Cemetery off Scoville North Road. More than 15 people, including historical society members and township officials, worked at straightening and cleaning markers.

VIENNA — A group of volunteers took advantage of the nice weather Sunday and spent the day straightening and cleaning old cemetery markers at the Dunlap Cemetery off Scoville North Road.

Several members of the Vienna Historical Society were joined by township officials in straightening and cleaning the nearly 50 markers at the small cemetery located next to Candywood Wine Cellar.

The Dunlap Cemetery is maintained by the township, with the historical society working there and at Doud Cemetery off King Graves Road as part of a cemetery preservation project and “Save a Grave” campaign.

Christine Novicky, president of the historical society, said the 15 people who took part straightened and leveled the markers that then were cleaned with water and chemicals. Jeff Ford of the society said more than 30 markers were finished Sunday.

Novicky said Dunlap and Doud cemeteries are the two oldest cemeteries in the township with markers dating back to the early 1800s. She said the main township cemetery at Vienna Center also has some markers from the 1800s.

“There are veterans buried here. We are doing what we can to preserve the markers,” she said.

Novicky said Niles Monument employees are going to donate their time to fix the five largest markers at the cemetery that have toppled over or are slanted. She said the granite markers seem to last longer and stay in better condition than the limestone and marble ones.

While efforts were being made to get as much done as they could Sunday, work may be held one more day in early October.

Debbie Barnard of Vienna, who helped, said when she would drive to and from work in Warren, she would pass the cemetery and see what it looked like.

“I would drive by here almost every day. It really needed to be cleaned up and markers straightened up, and now we are doing that. It looks a lot different than it did two years ago,” she said.

Ford and Novicky also worked on Saturday clearing weeds and plant overgrowth from the sides of the cemetery by the fence.

Dylan Anders, a society member, said he was digging around the leaning markers so they could be made more level and more dirt could be placed around them.

Novicky said while the focus was on resetting and cleaning tombstones, members also were searching for covered and missing stones.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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