Westport Gravestone Cleaning and Restoration Group
WESTPORT GRAVESTONE CLEANING AND RESTORATION 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 and restoration events.
We will provide training onsite for cleaning at each cleaning session. No need to preregister.
Please be aware of weather conditions. Cleaning and repair work will NOT take place in the event of light or heavy rain, if the temperature is below 45 degrees or during a heat advisory. We will post on our Facebook group page if there is a cancellation. Email Todd Baptista or Betty Slade if you are not able to get information. You may also provide your email address to Todd or Betty and we will email you with changes, additions, cancellations and the like. We will do our best to be responsive.
You need to bring a bucket for water or a hand-held garden sprayer and non-wire (plastic or nylon) brushes of different sizes. Volunteers often bring a cushion or small stool to sit on while working. Team leaders will supply plastic scrapers and water. Some people use chopsticks or toothbrushes 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. We use D/2 Biological Solution for cleaning. The D/2 is non-toxic so gloves are not necessary unless you want them.
D/2 Biological Solution will be donated by Ted Kinnari, the owner of the company, who lives in Westport. Please research online for more information. Some questions are answered at:
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.”