Graveyard Grant

CHRIST CHURCH RECEIVES HISTORIC PRESERVATION GRANT

Christ Church has been awarded a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust for preservation of its historic graveyard. The grant award is for $117,413 and includes a 1:1 match by the Parish. Here is a description of the scope and participants in the work that has been funded.

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION

CHRIST CHURCH SHREWSBURY GRAVESTONE RESTORATION

The graveyard at Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury is an historic one. The land has been used as a graveyard since the acquisition of the property in 1706. The oldest gravestone dates from 1719 and the markers are of every composition and design. The graveyard has been continually active since its inception and forms an historical record of the evolution of the area. The graveyard has about 1500 souls interred and 880 gravemarkers.

The proposed project involves the restoration and preservation of a significant number of deteriorating or fallen gravemarkers. This project can be viewed as a continuation of work begun in 2015-2016 under a Department of the Interior grant related to storm repair and resiliency. The previous project resulted in a comprehensive condition assessment and photography of every gravemarker. This information was added to our existing searchable database containing all those individuals in the graveyard with substantial genealogical information. This earlier project also resulted in the restoration of 14 gravemarkers in critical condition, mostly 18th century brownstones.

Since we have a complete condition assessment completed, the proposed project can begin with some detailed specifications for the next series of stones and, of course, the associated restoration work itself. The talented firms involved in the earlier project will bring their expertise and knowledge of this graveyard to the project. These are Lorraine Schnabel LLC who performed the condition assessment and Jablonski Building Conservators who executed the restoration work. There will also be one or more workshops for the public for lichen removal led by Ms. Schnabel. Further a self-guided tour of the graveyard will be developed by Dr. Richard Veit, Chair of the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University and a leading expert in New Jersey graveyards.

A total of about 75 gravestones will be treated in this new project.

In addition, an element of the project will include expanding our communication of the graveyard and its history with the broader community. This will involve development of a self-guided tour that will address gravestone, genealogical, and historical aspects of the graveyard coordinated by cemetery expert Dr. Richard Veit of Monmouth University who will also consult on the overall project.

The public benefits from the project through the preservation of the gravemarkers that tell us our history and the expanded, informed access to that history through the self-guided tour.