One Stone At A Time
All over America people adopt children and pets. At the Blairstown Museum, we adopt graves. Not just any grave, but those which are located in the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery. Dating back to the 18th century, this cemetery, which sits on top of a hill overlooking Blairstown’s Historic District, was the final resting place for many of the area’s “frontier families,” as well as John Insley Blair.
Today, it is seldom remembered – void of flowers and visitors. Over fifteen-years ago, there was an effort to address the weeds and several headstones were repaired in the process. Since then, except for the occasional grass cutting, there have not been any new preservation projects completed. The grounds are not well kept and many stones have fallen into disrepair or are covered in algae, lichen, and fungi.
These are the graves of the brave men and women who first settled here when the area was known as Smith’s Mills; later Butt’s Bridge and Gravel Hill; and since 1839 – Blairstown. They were some of the first blacksmiths, shoe cobblers, wheelwrights, carpenters, doctors, entrepreneurs and shopkeepers in the area – and they long to be remembered. Through our Adopt-A-Grave program you will have the opportunity to restore dignity to those who were here before us – one stone at a time.
Join us for a one-hour exploration of the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery . Click here for more information on our Portraits of Stone™ cemetery walking tour.
Relax, Reflect and Remember
Recently, our Board of Trustees President was appointed to the Blairstown Cemetery Association, which was created over twenty years ago. As a result, the Blairstown Museum has adopted the John Insley Blair Family Plot. Our first Adopt-A-Grave Restoration Project will include the preservation and beautification of this site, which includes the graves of John Insley Blair, his wife Ann Blair and their son Marcus Blair. We hope our efforts will inspire others to help us address the other graves in this cemetery.
The Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery Project
Many of us will choose a cemetery as our final resting place. As time passes, the headstones marking where we rest will become worn, discolored, covered with lichen, or even broken; such is the case for many of the gravestones located in the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery . In larger cemeteries, with active burials and an engaged association, funds are regularly attained for necessary upkeep. However, at the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery, the last burial was in the late 1970’s. The creation of an association did not occur until the mid-1990’s. As a result, there aren’t any funds available for routine maintenance.
At the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery many of the headstones are damaged. Many are leaning due to uneven settling. For others, iron and steel pins that were used to connect multiple pieces have begun to rust and expand. For a few, they were destroyed by vandals. At the Blairstown Museum, we use only top quality restoration products and techniques, which include using specially formulated epoxy, filling cracks and chips with lime mortars, and even providing external support, if necessary.
Your gift of $50 will enable us to begin restoring these graves and enhancing the cemetery. Our long term plans include headstone restoration, fencing repair, solar water fountains, bench seats, and flower plantings.
For the cost of a nice meal, you could make a significant impact to remember some of the people who first settled in our area. Your gift will also teach future generations the importance of honoring those who were here before us. Please click below to make a donation.
Wreaths Across The Hill
It has been said that a person dies twice: once when they take their final breath, and later, the last time their name is spoken. Learning from volunteers at The Arlington Wreath Project, as we place a wreath on a grave we say the individual’s name aloud and take a moment to tell them we hope they are resting in peace. If we are unable to ascertain their name, we simply whisper “rest in peace.” It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping their memory alive.
On Saturday, December 8, 2019, four wreaths were laid at the cemetery. In addition, volunteers with Girl Scout Troop 94549 provided five (5) hours of volunteer service, which included making and respectfully placing pine cone roses at the Blairstown (Gravel Hill) Cemetery. It was a very moving gesture to remember those who lay here silently on the hill, unknown to those passing by on the busy street below.
Our volunteers will install the wreaths on Sunday December 1, 2019. We currently need 30 wreaths. Please click below to make a donation.