Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Upcoming Events: Gage Walking Tour/Grave Marker Cleaning Day

The Cavendish Historical Society is sponsoring the following events in May:

May 23 (Sunday): To mark the 150th anniversary of Phineas Gage's death, CHS is holding a walking tour of sites relating to his accident. Meet at the Museum, Main Street Cavendish, at 2 pm. The tour will take about two hours and will visit the accident site where Gage had the tamping rod go through his head; and the locations of the home and surgery of Dr. Harlow; the boarding house where Gage was taken and the carpentar's shop, which built the coffin that he ended up not needing. Please read more about Gage in the previous post to this blog. If you would like copies of the walking tour guide, you can pick them up at the Cavendish Town Office or the Cavendish Library. You can obtain an PDF copy by e-mailing and writing "directions for Phinease Gage tour" in the subject heading.

May 29 (Saturday): Cemetery Grave Marker Cleaning Day. 9 am at Hillcrest Cemetery in Proctorsville (see article below)

May 30 (Sunday): The Museum opens for the season. The Museum is open from 2-4 pm.

For more information about any of these events, please e-mail or call 802-226-7807.

Grave Marker Cleaning Day in Proctorsville
In keeping with Memorial Day, many people will be going to local cemeteries to lay flowers on graves. There are many gravestones that have no one to remember them and are left to weather the best they can. Many of our oldest markers show signs of aging and disrepair. In an effort to preserve our history, and to honor those who have gone before us, the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) will be holding its first annual Cemetery Grave Marker Cleaning Day on May 29 (Saturday) from 9-noon at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Proctorsville.

While CHS will have volunteers on hand to teach the proper way to clean the gravestones, the following simple tips can be followed by anyone interested in cleaning a gravestone.
- Do no harm. Don’t do anything that will remove or damage the original surface of the stone.
- Start from the bottom up and work up, as this avoids streaking.
- Keep the stone very wet.
- Use a soft brush (nylon or natural)-do not use wire brushes. Brush in a random circular motion. Clean with fresh water as you go. Test a small patch at the bottom of the stone to make sure you wont damage the stone.
- For lichen-soak with water and scrape with a wooden or plastic scraper (no metal)
- Lots and lots of water. Hoses are fine, but no power washing.
- NO BLEACH Stones are composed of minerals and salts. Adding bleach or other corrosive solvents may make the stone look white, but will shorten the life of the marker considerably. You can get a lot done with just water. If you want to use a cleaner, use a non-ionic one.
- If you are cleaning a modern stone, check with the company for cleaning instructions.

CHS’s “Monument Cleaning” handout is available at the Cavendish Library, the Cavendish Historical Society Museum in Cavendish, and at the Cavendish Town Office. Copies will be distributed on May 29. While CHS will have sprayers and brushes on site, it’s recommended that you bring a clean brush. For more information, please call 802-226-7807 or e-mail

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