About Jonathan Appell

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Since 1987 it has been our mission to conserve, preserve, educate and increase public appreciation for the history that can be found in the world's gravestones, monuments, architecture and sculpture. We have been able to accomplish this in concert with regional and local governments, municipalities, historic trusts, foundations and societies, along with private individuals, heirs and descendants. In furtherance of our goals it is our hope that this website and our other site, http://www.gravestonepreservation.info will provide a means to disseminate information that will be of value to those who have an interest in preserving our national treasures both public and private. We hope that you will find it as an informative place and enjoy it enough to come back often.

 

The premise of this website, is to formulate a basic historical perspective on the history of memorials in Colonial America. In turn an understanding will be developed on the transformation, which took place as we became an industrialized nation. The Victorian area produced larger monumental works, due to a changing ethic, mass production, and the railroads. Finally, around the turn of the last century, ,manufacturing advancements made most of the weaker materials obsolete in favor of the nearly permanent granite used on modern memorials. Once an historical overview has been established, it will then be possible to address the conservation demands, on the gravestones and monuments we encounter in our places of burial.

 

Memorials from each era represent their own unique preservation dilemmas. Therefore, there is no one silver bullet which can cure all ills, but rather a preservation ethic must be established to be used as a guideline to address each individual situation. With this said, there are many fundamental rules which should be followed, so as not to degrade or diminish our historic gravestones. What was once desired was to restore our past. If a gravestone was deteriorated , the best possible repair would have been a complete restoration, to make it look like new again. A duplication or reproduction is no longer considered an ethical alternative to conserving the original fabric of what remains. Gravestone conservation and historic stone preservation has become the art and science of preserving all we can of our heritage carved in stone. 

Today it is becoming more common to conserve what remains. This is not a steadfast rule, and many cemeteries, towns, or associations, still would rather restore a stone. This is not an issue which is easily resolvable, and not likely to ever be completely agreed upon. An aggressive conservation borders on restoration, and a minor restoration, may be considered conservation. Ultimately, the terms are less important than the process. The main objective is to preserve the original fabric as much as possible.