In the News

Excerpts from The Journal-Standard, Freeport, Illinois, Saturday, August 19, 2006.

Cemetery Struggles with Upkeep
By Diana Roemer

Cedarville, Illinois Visitors to Cedarville Cemetery almost forget they are at a graveyard. It is a beautiful space. Planted wildflowers bloom along its edges in front of thick stands of natural woods. Hemlock, spruce, and cedars tower over driveways and pathways, creating soft green canopies over grave sites dating back to 1851, when the graveyard was mapped out.

Many of the older headstones are crooked, some are sagging, a few nearly falling over, their foundations giving way.

Steve Purple, manager of Freeport's Flachtemeier Monuments, began work Friday on a turn-of-the-century headstone that is small and can be easily straightened. "Just taking some measurements here," he said, unreeling his tape measure and lining it up across the leaning 3-foot-high slab. "This will be something we can fix," he said.

Other headstones aren't so easily fixed. And what Purple was doing for this one family, the Clingmans, is a step that needs to be repeated from headstone to headstone.

Some stones weigh nearly a half-ton and need to be lifted with heavy equipment, said Bill Pick of Cedarville, who sits on the board entrusted with caring for the cemetery.

"It's not like it's just any cemetery. Famous people, senators, Jane Addams and Jacob Henney (a Freeport buggy and auto manufacturer) are buried there."