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Volunteers work on the restoration of South Burlington Cemetery


Vermont has some 2,000 cemeteries, and many are very old.

On Saturday, the Shelburne Road Cemetery in South Burlington got a makeover thanks to dozens of volunteers.

If you blink, you might miss it. Nestled just off the busy Shelburne Road is an ancient cemetery, home to around 100 graves and rich local history.

“I knew this cemetery just needed some love,” said Marleen Moore, one of dozens of volunteers who spends her Saturday scrubbing, picking up and washing old headstones in the scenic cemetery.

“They twist the bend, and I think this one probably has vandalism issues.

The stones are broken in several places, we have to re-cement and it’s a lot of work,” said Tom Giffin of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association.

Giffin says the group spends every weekend from May through October restoring cemeteries across the state, each time preserving a little more of Vermont’s history.

“To honor what people have done in the past and also help dig up and find out what the words say there,” Moore said.

South Burlington says the city got Burlington Cemetery in 1865.

“Right now, it’s just about dealing with the past and trying to see what the future will look like,” said Donna Kinville, City of South Burlington clerk and Sexton committee member.

She says it is still active, with the most recent burial taking place in 2020. The city contacted the Old Cemetery Association last year, and they are spending Saturday sprucing it up.

But it’s not a quick task. Preserving history takes technique.

“We put everything back together by straightening the bases, then we put the pieces back together,” Giffin said.

The stones are treated with D2, a biological cleaner. Then water is sprayed and the lichen is cleaned.

“The stones look like new when we’re done. So we have people making sure every stone is clean,” Giffin said.

And at the end of a day’s work, the goal is to ensure that the stones will be able to withstand another 200 years.

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