#56 Early 18th Century Cemetery Prepares for a Facelift

"Planning Underway for Upgrade of Braintree Cemetery" -Braintree Patch, Braintree, MA


A local CRM firm has put together a plan to preserve the Elm Street Cemetery in Braintree, MA.  The cemetery contains the graves of well known last names in the area and is in serious need of repair.  The first person was burried in the cemetery in 1717.  The article does not say when the last person was burried there.

The management plan, estimated to cost $250,000, includes encouraging visitation, establishing a code of conduct, regular inspections to identify vandalism, broken headstone repair, additional lighting, repointing and restoring tombs, and fixing the perimeter fence and wall.

Barbara Donohue is the cultural resource consultant that put together the plan.

Donohue stresses throughout the report that maintenance has remained inconsistent for decades, even after the association was dissolved and the cemetery was placed under the care of the town. In 2008, the Cemetery Commission was replaced by the Department of Public Works, which oversees four town cemeteries. Most of the attention paid to the cemeteries focuses on the still-active Plain Street cemetery, according to the report.

The cemetery was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 due to issues with the cemetery's preservation.  Those issues are addressed in the management plan.

Getting the town familiar with Standards of Preservation set down by the Secretary of the Interior is the plan's first priority:

"Our first recommendation, therefore, is that those assuming care for the cemetery, especially the Town’s Department of Public Works, become thoroughly familiar with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Preservation and reaffirm their responsibility as stewards of this historical resource to ensure that future preservation efforts are consistent with sound preservation principles and practices," the report states.

It's nice to see a town that is willing to put money into it's heritage and into local preservation.


2008  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (iPad App), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.   Developed by Handmark, Inc.

Cemetery Any group of two or more separate or substantive graves.