Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ithaca City Cemetery Clean-up

Students at Ithaca Cemetery
Credits: Historic Ithaca
On August 29, 2015, graduate students from the M.A. HPP, MRP, and CIPA programs, as well as community members joined Historic Ithaca to clean up the Ithaca City Cemetery. Established around 1790, the cemetery covers 16 acres of University Hill, located to the west of Cornell’s campus. Often used by students as a pass through, the cemetery has suffered from acts of vandalism and general decay. Working in the oldest part of the cemetery, the CRP and CIPA students were split into two different groups. One group worked on digging out headstones that had cracked and fallen over to ultimately reset them and the other worked on cleaning nearby monuments. Historic Ithaca taught students how to use an environmentally friendly enzyme cleaner to scrub the headstones. After the work of digging out and cleaning a row of four headstones was complete, Historic Ithaca referred to a map made decades ago in order to know where to instruct students to place the headstones. After digging out a section of ground to replace them, students reset the headstones in the correct location and refilled the holes. Upon completion, two monuments and five headstones had been cleaned and reset.
This experience reminded the students of how important cemeteries are as cultural resources. When asked about the students’ experience, Ana Felisa Huckfeldt, M.A. HPP ‘16, stated “These clean-up events are always fun. We learn a lot about local history and conservation.” Since upkeep of the cemetery is largely volunteer-based, the Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery expressed their appreciation of the students’ hard work.