From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Repairs for Broken Headstones

Two fixes for fallen tombstones


I hate to see old tombstones that are broken and lying on the ground in pieces. Sometimes the bottom half is still standing. Vandals have snapped the stone, or a tree has fallen on it. Sometimes, natural forces heave the whole stone out of the ground, and it breaks when it falls. Whatever the cause, broken gravestones are a common sight and a real problem in old cemeteries.

I saw this repair of a broken grave marker at Golconda, Illinois. It should last for many years. Someone cut a big cedar fencepost (naturally resistant to rot) in half lengthwise. Then he made a long, square groove down each half  to fit the side of the tombstone. The cedar pieces are set into a concrete base that also serves as a foundation for the headstone.

Top view: the stone fits into the grooves.

Broken stone held upright and stable

I like this repair because the stone isn't messed up with globs of adhesive or concrete. The pieces fit together cleanly, the stone is restored to an upright position, and the broken parts are supported.

I've also seen pictures of this repair method done with U-shaped metal pieces.  The cedar log was probably a cheap, readily available material for this repairman. Pressure treated lumber could also have been used. One good thing about using wood is that it does not tempt metal thieves.

I saw another type of repair in the Willoughby Cemetery in Republic County, Kansas.  This method does a superb job of joining the parts of the headstone together. If the stone had been set on an incline, rather than flat, water would have drained off better. But I still appreciate the respect that someone showed by making the effort to repair the broken gravestone.

You can find a lot of information about good (and bad) ways to repair broken gravestones on the internet. Check out this search: How to repair a broken tombstone.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.