MOUNT VERNON — Restoration projects are ongoing at Mound View Cemetery. The cemetery has seen a variety of projects completed since 1993, with this year’s projects being roof replacement, and the cleaning and possible replacement of floor and wall tiles inside the chapel.
The cemetery was opened in 1833, with the chapel being constructed in 1886. The chapel has been the focus of the bulk of the projects as its historical value is hoped to be preserved as much as possible.
“It’s a very historical building,” said cemetery foreman Debbie Briscoe. “We believe there are only two buildings like this, with the other being in Newark. It is very rare in the fact that it includes an underground holding vault.”
The building was originally used to conduct funeral services and to sometimes hold caskets through the winter. It currently is not being used, but the plan is to one day use it for cremation services and for baby services.
Many of the chapel renovations have occurred over the past five years, including replastering and painting the inside walls, replacing gutters and downspouts, running electrical service into the building, installing a heat pump, installing nine storm windows, and putting in a security system, among other small projects.
The roof project planned for this year is the replacement of a wind-damaged asphalt shingle roof with a new Vermont gray slate roof. The shingles have already been showing wear, and recent windstorms have accelerated the need for replacement. Shoemaker Roofing has been chosen as the contractor; partial compensation is expected from the insurance company to cover the storm damage.
Also scheduled for this year is the cleaning/replacement of floor and wall tiles in the chapel. Extensive cleaning is necessary on the floor tiles, Briscoe said, as the building used to be used for storage, and oil from the equipment leaked onto the floor, causing large stains. Many other individual tiles have fallen off around the doorway to the holding vault. Briscoe believes this is from mold and moisture coming in around the doorway. She said this problem has been alleviated with the installation of a heat pump, which has allowed for better control of temperature and humidity. There is a small supply of replacement tiles in storage, and it is hoped there are enough available without having to replace more tiles.
Another more intricate tile project is that of a colored medallion in the middle of the floor. It is reportedly made of colored encaustic tile which is colored clear through, not just on the surface.
“This medallion is difficult to maintain,” said Briscoe. “We may need to allow for special treatment of this in order to protect it. It may depend on how much traffic goes through here, and whether we utilize chairs or pews for services. Doug Krumlauf is the consultant being used to do the tile work. He has volunteered his work at no charge, and other volunteer work may be used as well, allowing for this tile project to be done at practically no cost.
“Most of our repairs just get expensive because of neglect over the years,” said Briscoe. “The city allocates money for us nearly every year in a capital improvement fund.”
There is also a cemetery budget which goes toward routine costs and maintenance.
“[The city] has been very good at providing funds for us nearly every year. If funds ever become low or expenses get too large, we may consider some kind of fundraising to keep up with various projects,” said Briscoe.
Other projects for the future include replacing Plexiglas windows with stained glass windows, conducting repairs on the underground vault and working on alignment of the front gates.