OCC Board reports on projects

Repair and restoration work continues at the Old Clarkesville Cemetery. Members of the Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. board are working on several high-profile projects in 2019, including marking two entrances with arbors, overseeing the restoration of a family burial plot, conducting genealogy research and developing design concepts for cemetery signage, website and other branding. Shown, from left, Clarkesville resident Rob Aycock and Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. board member Brooks Garcia. The arbor installation is part of the plan to restore and preserve the Old Clarkesville Cemetery.
E. Lane Gresham © 2019/Special 

Several high-profile projects are in motion at the Old Clarkesville Cemetery as a result of fundraising efforts in 2018.
“We are thrilled to see the results of the community’s commitment to this historic landmark coming together,” said Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Board Chair Aycock.
Proceeds from a state tourism grant, donations and an October 2018 fundraiser are funding the projects, Aycock said.
The first of two pergolas/arbors is installed on Morgan Street. The structure is made of native locust wood by area craftsman Buz Stone. The arbors will mark two entrances to the cemetery as part of the overall plan to restore and preserve the site.
Stonework, steps and fencing are next on the to-do list, according to Aycock.
The first phase of a significant burial plot restoration is also on the task list for later this month, according to HCCP, Inc. board member Brooks Garcia. Famed Civil War photographer and Clarkesville hotelier Frederic Eugene Durbec and his family sleep in the southwest corner of the cemetery. The enclosure walls and raised tombs have been damaged over time, Garcia said.
The board has contracted with Landmark Preservation, LLC. to assess and restore the family’s final resting place. Phase I will consist of disassembling the tomb structure, numbering all of the bricks and other pieces.
“Once that is done, we’ll have a better idea of what it will take for a complete restoration,” he said. The discovery of several vintage photographs of the original plot will direct the restoration,” Garcia said. “The Durbec family burial structure is the closest thing we have to a mausoleum.”
A more modern addition to the cemetery’s visibility is the development of a new logo and graphic identity. The board is working with a local graphic designer on the concept.
“We look forward to unveiling this to the community in February,” Aycock said.
The new branding will enhance an existing website that is an expanding resource for those seeking more information on the families represented in the cemetery established in 1831.
Board members are using an article in the Oct. 27, 1927 edition of the Tri-County Advertiser, written by Mrs. J.T. Pittard to follow clues to the locations of graves, both marked and unmarked. The website will mirror Mrs. Pittard’s reflection with a collection of “Who’s Who” pages organized by family name.
HCCP, Inc. board member Virginia Gorday of Rabun County, an accomplished genealogist, is researching the families interred at the cemetery.
Additionally, a late-spring fundraiser is in the planning stages, Aycock said, with additional ways the community can be involved also under consideration.
For more information, visit oldclarkesvillecemetery.com or search for Old Clarkesville Cemetery on Facebook or Instagram.

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