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Restoration underway at D’Ane Cemetery

By Staff, 04/11/19 6:59 AM

PRESCOTT – It began with a $2,000 grant through the Arkansas Historical Register Marker Program.

The Nevada County Depot and Museum got the grant and decided to have historical markers put up annually to recognize the founding fathers of Prescott and Nevada County, along with notable citizens. The first will be Gov. Thomas McRae. Museum Curator Judy Duke said this marker will be placed near McRae’s grave at D’Ane Cemetery later on.

However, in checking out the cemetery, it was discovered several of the headstones were in poor repair and some were off their bases altogether. Duke said money that had been donated to the museum was available and the decision was made to use it to repair these headstones. “We found several stones out of place,” she said, “needing repair and some were discolored.

A call was made to the Texas Cemetery Restoration Co., of Texas, the company that did work on headstones in the Moscow Cemetery. A crew came up and began working on the headstones around McRae’s plot. Some of the stones had to be picked up off the ground and others were in dire need of cleaning because of lichens.

“We’ll be here through Saturday,” said company owner Rusty Brenner, adding this would depend on the weather. The crew, consisting of Brenner, smith Murchison, Ernesto Dimas and Lucio Vasquez, will be leveling the headstones and cleaning the lichens off others. Brenner said if the markers aren’t cleaned, the lichens could eventually destroy the marble.

The work is labor intensive as the crew uses a chain hoist to lift the stones, which are first wrapped with a nylon weave strap to protect the marble as it’s lifted. The hoist is on casters to make it easier to move from place to place, and jacks are used to take the weight off the casters. First, though, the base is dug up and leveled using a sledge hammer, to break the underlying concrete or brick if necessary, and Quickrete to set the bases back in and make them stable. The company uses a form of “epoxy” to place the markers back onto the base. This “epoxy” forms a vacuum seal which, Brenner said, could last a hundred years.

The broken headstones, he said, will be repaired as well as possible with the pieces to be glued together. Brenner noted the break lines will show, but this can’t be helped.

Duke said this part of the cemetery is on the National Historic Register and once these restorations are done, fundraisers will be held to do more. “This will be an ongoing project.”

However, once these restorations are finished, the marker for McRae will be placed with a dedication ceremony held.