It seems almost unbelievable to say this, but the PRO Team will be wrapping up our work on East Hill within the year! Since late 2019, we’ve worked almost exclusively in this section of the cemetery, but soon that phase of our restoration process will come to a close. For those of you less familiar with Oakland’s neighborhoods, East Hill refers to the easternmost 7.5 acres of the cemetery, characterized by its steep terrain and large retaining walls. The work we are doing in this section is funded through our Living History Capital Campaign—the same campaign that helped pay for the recent Bell Tower rehabilitation. The Capital Campaign only covers the first six acres of larger-scale contract work in East Hill, so after this year, we’ll be working on fundraising to complete the last 1.5 acres. Our in-house work, which includes all burial-related features, will be done in all 7.5 acres sometime this winter.
This Spring, Leija and Sanchez will again serve as our masonry contractors. They will rebuild approximately $250,000 worth of deteriorated retaining walls. Our in-house team will also rebuild some smaller walls, but as usual, our primary focus will be on headstones and very sensitive features.
One interesting project slated for completion this year is the repair of a sandstone wall on the Jones lot. Because sandstone forms in layers, it tends to delaminate over time, causing large sheets to fall off. Repair will include mechanically re-attaching the delaminated pieces and patching areas where material is missing.
Another project we’ll begin work on is the repair of a very large marble wall at the crest of the hill. Due to impurities in the marble—possibly mica, graphite, or clay—one of the coping stones (capstone) appears to have “rotted” in half. Upon evaluation, the stone was weakened beyond repair, so we went to the Georgia Marble Company headquarters in Tate to find a replacement rock with similar veining to cut a new stone. The new stone is a very close match, and we’re excited to utilize it in the upcoming rebuilding project.
To read more about the Capital Campaign and to find out how you can help, click here.