Group Works to Preserve Gravestones

Northland Uncovered: Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps

DULUTH, Minn. – A local preservation corps is expanding their knowledge of gravesite conservation.

The Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps is training at Forest Hill Cemetery in Duluth.

Nationally recognized gravestone conservator, Jonathan Appell is leading the training, “It empowers people to have the knowledge and skills to go on and work themselves and make a difference in their region, their local communities, churches.”

Appell is going teaching them how to properly lift and set a gravestone.

“Monuments that are unstable can fall and do and can hurt people. These are open-air cemeteries which are places people visit and so there’s actually human hazards involved,” said Appell.

This work also gives proper condolences to those underground.

“There’s historical records in the stones and we should pay respects to the people that spent money and the time to have them created, made, installed and thought they would last forever,” explained Appell.

With these new skills, Northern Bedrock hopes to make even more of an impact this year.

“We have three times the amount of people, we’re gonna go out and do a lot more cemetery work and we want to have another skill I guess to add to our bag of tricks,” said Rolf Hagberg, Executive Director of Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps.

With numbers up and a growing group, the members are now part of Americorps, spreading their message of preservation around the state.

“My favorite part is seeing the energy that the young people get when they do it and really connect with the names and connect with the stories behind who these people are,” said Hagberg.

The group has several projects around Minnesota they will be tackling this summer.

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