Conservationists help preserve historic Macon cemetery monuments

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A handful of conservationists, who generally work on maintaining and preserving cemetery monuments in Savannah, are helping do the same in Macon.

They stopped at Riverside Cemetery as part of the Georgia Municipal Cemetery Association’s workshop on Thursday.

Among those at eternal rest, there’s a group who won’t until its job is done.

“In effect, it’s your city’s outdoor museum,” David Satterwhite, the president of the Georgia Municipal Cemetery Association, said referring to cemeteries.

About a dozen people came to Macon as part of a group wanting to maintain their local memorials.

“We always want to make the city look real decent. So stuff like this here — because a lot of the citizens, they cherish the cemetery,” Teriano Felder, the public works director for the city of Unadilla, said.

Unclaimed, old headstones dating back centuries are at times cracked and dirty.

“Some of things are kind of an eyesore for some of these cities,” Felder said.

So the Georgia Municipal Cemetery Association held a workshop to show how to preserve them.

“It’s a service to their citizens for the most part,” Satterwhite said.

The goal of the “workshop” was to reinforce the idea that cemeteries in cities and counties should be a point of pride, and people can help by clearing off headstones, or replacing and filling in dirt around them.

“Some of these angels and things from (the) 1800’s, you don’t think about it. They’re not laser edged like they are now. They were cut by hand and they were put up on horse and buggy,” Satterwhite said, admiring the monuments throughout Riverside Cemetery.

It’s an appreciation of labor and care.

“…showing other cemetery managers when they go back home that they can repair stones the correct way so that they’re repaired for the future,” he said.

While taking in the beauty of the past.

“The obelisk here in this cemetery are just magnificent works of art. They’re beautiful,” Satterwhite said.

The group also learned about different products, including D/2 biological solution, that’s used to maintain monuments and not destroy them.

Each member of the group plans on taking what they learned and using the new techniques to keep up the cemeteries in their cities.

GMCA is holding an annual conference in Douglasville on October 5-7 to discuss the latest in cemetery upkeep. For more information, you can visit their website by clicking here.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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