Westport Gravestone Cleaning Group

Westport Gravestone Cleaning Group: Join Our Team!

The Westport Historical Society invites you to join our effort to preserve Westport’s cemeteries. It is a rewarding and therapeutic activity! We will host a series of regular gravestone cleaning events on Saturday mornings.

Cleaning will NOT take place in the event of light or heavy rain or if the temperature is below 45 degrees or during heat advisory.

You need to bring a bucket (for water), any kind of non-wire brush. We suggest you bring a cushion or small stool to sit on while cleaning the stones. We will supply plastic scrapers and small brushes. Some people use chopsticks to clean out the engraved lettering.

Please bring your own beverage, snacks, sunscreen, hats, and bug spray if you wish.

You may get dirty so dress accordingly.  The D/2 is non-toxic so gloves are not necessary unless you want them.

Social distancing is easy as you will be assigned stones some distance from each other, but please bring a mask for interactions.

D/2 Biological Solution will be donated by Ted Kinnari.

Pre-registration is required.

You can sign up here.


Meet one of our gravestone cleaning group leaders, Todd Baptista

Todd Baptista admits his passion for cemeteries has been lifelong. A 52 year-old clinical pharmacist and town resident for 28 years, he remembers his mom bringing him for walks in a New Bedford cemetery early in life. The conservation and cleaning initiative of the Westport Historical Society is an ideal match for Todd’s passion.

“I loved history, and was fascinated by the old stones. Each was unique and intriguing and many told stories. With the harsh New England winters, a lot of stones have broken, become weather-beaten, or even knocked over by lawn mowers.    Some need significant maintenance, but a good number of them could simply use a good cleaning.”

“For me, these old cemeteries are like a free trip to an American history museum. As I am cleaning, I find myself thinking of the individual buried there.  The horse or ox drawn carts used to bring the coffins to the graves.  The men who hand-dug these final resting spaces.  The survivors and mourners and the carvers of these works of art that mark the graves.  As the years of algae and mildew and dirt roll off and the names and dates are exposed clearly and vividly, all those folks seem to come alive again for me.  It’s a very rewarding feeling.”