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! Beginning in late April we will host a series of regular gravestone cleaning events on Saturday mornings 10 AM – 12 PM.
Cleaning will NOT take place in the event of light or heavy rain or if the temperature is below 45 degrees.
Gloves are not required, D/2 Biological cleaner is non-toxic.
All equipment is provided. D/2 Biological Solution will be donated by Ted Kinnari.
Pre-registration is not required, but we encourage you to sign up so that we can bring sufficient supplies and equipment. You can sign up here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4aa8a92cabfd0-westport
Gravestone Cleaning Activities are planned for:
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday April 18 at Beech Grove Cemetery (Veterans graves)
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday April 25 at Beech Grove Cemetery (Veterans graves)
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday May 2 at Beech Grove Cemetery
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday May 9 at Beech Grove Cemetery
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday May 16 location TBA
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday May 23 location TBA
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday June 13 location TBA
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday June 20 location TBA
10 AM – 12 PM Saturday June 27 location TBA
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.”