Cemetery Preservation

While over 1300 souls are buried at St. John's, only around 800 gravestones remain. Many of these are weathered and worn and in need of repair to preserve them for future generations. Conservationists have estimated that 117 are in critical condition; another 107 are considered second level priority. Historic markers are vulnerable to daily environmental elements. Acid rain, pollution, and bird droppings cause continuous deterioration to fragile stone materials.   

 

Table Top markers

There are several different kinds of gravestones on site.  We have a plethora of "table top" markers, designed to protect graves from wild animals when the hill was an open field.  Table tops also have a lot more room to laud the deceased! 

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Head and foot stones

There are also headstones, some with foot stones. The foot stone may simply mark the foot of a grave, but more often provide additional information about the interred decedent. A foot stone usually contains the initials of the person whose grave it marks.

Headstones in the southwest corner, across from the Elmira Shelton house.  Elmira Shelton was Edgar Allan Poe's first and last love.  

Headstones in the southwest corner, across from the Elmira Shelton house.  Elmira Shelton was Edgar Allan Poe's first and last love.  

obelisks

A large tower indicates the importance of the deceased, and is an Egyptian motif. Obelisks were associated with greatness and were considered patriotic.  They also symbolize eternal life.  

An obelisk on the east side of the church.  

An obelisk on the east side of the church.