Cemetery Maintenance

Imagine having to maintain nearly 130 acres of rolling lawns dotted with stones of various shapes and sizes every few feet, in a landscape of hundreds of trees and shrubs, in all kinds of weather on a tight budget!  It is a daunting challege which faces every cemetery director these days.  When we stroll leisurely through the grounds on a Sunday afternoon, admiring the green clipped grass and resting beneath the shade of one of the great old trees, it is easy to forget the effort and money it takes to keep it all looking as if it just grew that way naturally. It is always upsetting to see when the peace and beauty is marred by a thoughtless vandal knocking over a stone which has stood for 150 years, graffiti scribbled on a mausoleum, or a grand old oak uprooted by a violent storm.  Many years ago, Perpetual Care was an option family members could select for their plot at a very reasonable rate, but like everything else, the cost has escalated, and the $500 Lizzie Borden arranged for the permanent care of her family plot has long ago been spent. 

And so, it seems plain that every city -owned cemetery could benefit from more willing volunteers to help with some issues which they can be easily trained to do, or to organize donations and contributions of time, labor and plantings.  The slide presentation below shows some of the issues faced daily in the typical city cemetery, from security issues to animals being dumped on the grounds, to broken stones and acid rain.  For some problems there is a cure, sadly for others, such as hopelessly fractured stones which are  broken beyond repair, there is nothing to be done except to photograph and record the information to be filed at the office for future generations.

But there are ways to help.  Lichen and moss can be easily removed before precious information on stones is lost forever. It just takes a soft brush and some plain warm water in the hands of someone who cares about preserving history for those who will pass this way 100 years from now.  Diseased and uprooted trees can be replanted and flower beds restored to their former glory for just a little money and effort on the part of eager volunteers willing to give a Sunday afternoon once in awhile.


9 thoughts on “Cemetery Maintenance

  1. How can I contact the Cemetary about a stone that is loose from it’s base? Chadwick, Walter 6/17/47 and Lillian 12/16/37. It is next to our’s and we noticed it on Memorial Day Weekend. We do not live in Fall River and can not visit often.
    Also, How can we find out where other graves are?
    Thank you for your help.

  2. Unfortunately, online records for Oak Grove and Old North are not available at this time. The office is open Mon-Fri 9-4 and you may call to obtain plot information.

  3. I’d like to support the creation, installation and maintenance of signs marking the paths at the cemetery. I have many relatives there, but have not found all the stones due to my poor planning of entering on a weekend without a map. A large map at the entrance would be a worthwhile addition to the site, too. Let me know how to contribute to this plan.

  4. Profound thanks for elevating our ancestors gravestones. On June 2, 2016 we visited the Prosser Lot OG1160, and our grandfather’s (Dr Richard Dunham Heap) gravestone was completely buried and great-grandfather’s (Joseph Maybury Heap) gravestone was only a few years away from being totally covered. I called Oak Grove the next week to ask how we could fix these two gravestones. The office assured us that it would be taken care of, and when I called several weeks later, I was informed that the lot had been fixed. My sisters and I visited on Sept 4th and were absolutely delighted that all of the gravestones in the lot are well above ground and standing tall. The stones had been in need of a lift for years but my mother thought it was a big undertaking. She would have been absolutely delighted to see that her father’s and grandfather’s stones are now properly aligned and elevated so there is no problem reading the gravestone. Thank you for your fine work. Carol, Linda, and Barbara

  5. My ancestor, James Shea, was buried at “Town lot Cemetery, Fall River,” on January 14, 1871, according to his death certificate from New York City, where he died. Can anyone identify which cemetery this might have been? Are any records available that could be searched for his records? Thank you.

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