Old gravestones to be spruced up

A number of gravestones in the town of Louisa’s historical Oakland Cemetery are getting some much-needed care.

The town council approved spending $9,381 at its October and November meetings for restoration work. Much of the damage dates from the 2011 earthquake, but in some cases the deterioration has been in progress for much longer.

Stones that lean precariously or have toppled over are among the leading candidates for improvement. In other cases, the inscriptions on the stones had become almost illegible due to mold growth.

“I’ve been working for awhile to find the right person to do the work,” Mayor Garland Nuckols said. “I’m very excited to get the cemetery back to what it should be.”

The West Street cemetery, which is included on the Trevilians battlefield driving tour, often draws tourists. Sometimes a busload of visitors stops to walk the site. In addition to some important figures in Louisa County history, the cemetery is the burial place for dozens of unidentified soldiers who died in the Battle of Trevilians in 1864 during the Civil War. 

A number of families who still live in the county also have ancestors buried in the cemetery and have asked the town in recent years for help in fixing damaged gravestones.  

The town worked with Sheridan Funeral Home in Fluvanna County to find a contractor, Legacy Monument Design of Petersburg. The company divided restoration work into two phases. The first phase consists of 70 monuments most in need of repair, including obelisks that are laying on the ground and others that have become loosened from their bases and could fall over. Some present a safety risk if someone happens to be standing close by when they collapse.

In the second phase, the contractor will level and straighten 198 stones.