Clean-up of historic Greenfield Hill cemetery slated
A clean-up of the historic Greenfield Hill Cemetery is planned Saturday, April 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a local group has put out a call for volunteers to help.
The day's work will focus on repairing, resetting and cleaning historic headstones that are in disrepair. The event is sponsored by the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society, which said both adult and youth volunteers are welcome.
The cemetery is the final resting place for 103 Revolutionary War soldiers, which the improvement society said is the most of any cemetery in the nation.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own gloves and, if possible, garden shovels.
Experts in repairing and resetting historic headstones will conduct a workshop to instruct volunteers in proper methods and techniques for working on the grave markers, the improvement society said.
Ruth Shapleigh-Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Gravestone Network, and members of that group will explain how to clean headstones with natural cleaning products and will review the do's and don'ts of scrubbing them.
In a news release prepared by the improvement society, Shapleigh-Brown said the response to caring for the Greenfield Hill Cemetery has been "tremendous."
"The energy, camaraderie and determination of the folks who have become the unofficial caretakers of this cemetery has been absolutely incredible," she said
"Concern for these neglected cemeteries has risen, and I think it is wonderful to see people taking the initiative to protect and preserve these state treasures," she said.
Parts of the cemetery were damaged when large trees came down during storms. Fairfield Tree Warden Ken Placko helped secure Federal Emergency Management Agency money to have them removed last summer, the improvement society said.
A clean-up day last fall concentrated on removal of dead trees and overgrown bushes. Saturday's clean-up will be the fifth sponsored by the society, and Melanie Marks, chairwoman of the society's Cemetery Committee, said participation has grown.
"None of these work days would happen without the continued support of the community volunteers," she said. "Many hands make light work."
Those interested in participating in the clean-up can contact Marks at 203-856-6270 or 203-254-0480.
The improvement society lists clean-up days on its website, www.ghvis.org