county discusses cemetery preservation | News, Sports, Jobs


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Jon Appel at Dorcas Holt Buchanan’s headstone during a previous visit to Lewistown. Appel dug to see how far the cement went, then put everything back in place

LEWISTOWN – Jenny Baron Landis, executive director of the Juniata Valley Visitors Bureau, spoke with Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday, sharing information about the ACT 13 project to preserve the most important heritage and history Lewistown Borough elders repair headstones in Old Town Cemetery, the final resting place of Lewistown’s early settlers.

“I researched and found America’s premier expert in gravestone and monument cleaning, repair and preservation, Jonathan Appell, owner of Atlas Preservation of Southington, Connecticut, who will be coming to Lewistown in October to repair the gravestones and historic monuments in the Old Town cemetery, which have increasingly decayed after years of weathering,” she says.

Old Town Cemetery, established in 1802, is the resting place of the borough’s first European settlers and Lewistown’s first African Americans. Appell held a workshop in the borough last year at the African American Cemetery, in which the headstones he worked on are much brighter than in previous years.

Atlas Preservation specializes in sealing cracks in stone. Appell is wanted across the United States to preserve historic monuments in cemeteries.

The Old Town Cemetery is also the resting place of the grave of Dorcas Holt Buchanan, the first female resident of Lewistown.

As a preeminent expert in stone rehabilitation, Appel will bring a skill that will help preserve history in the right place for the citizens and future citizens of Lewistown, Landis explained.

The Old Town Cemetery is also the final resting place of borough soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War against the British.

“Gravestones cannot last forever and eventually turn to dust, but through conservation they can extend their lifespan as long as possible,” Landis said.

Many shades of weather also affect the Old Town Cemetery, as modern cement lines historic headstones and tombstones that have sunk in and are vulnerable to lawnmower blades, as well as cracks that hold water and expand and erode with freezing and thawing. Appell will mainly work on the grave of Dorcas Buchanan. County employees and members of the public are encouraged to follow Appel as he works on the headstones.

“What is important here is that we train ourselves so that we learn as much as possible, so that we can then learn about the materials and techniques used to preserve the rich history of our borough for future generations. . said commissioner Kevin Kodish.

“You can still read the Dorcas gravestone, which is absolutely amazing and must be a tribute to the fine sandstone of central Pennsylvania,” Landis said. “Atlas Preservation will primarily be, first, the preservation of the Dorcas Buchanan gravestone base and secondly, Appell will also assist with the sunken stone of the historic gravestones so that they are safe from lawn mowers.”

ACT 13 funds are funds given to counties for Marcellus shale drilling permits; although Mifflin County has no known Marcellus Shale, a small amount of funding is still allocated to the county. These funds will allow Appel to carry out the preservation work of the cemetery in the old town.

In other business Thursday, the board approved:

• Statement of Work #7 with Delta Development Group to extend the agreement for an additional twenty-four months at a fee of $4,000 per month.

• Tenders open for a washer/dryer.

• Reappointments of Dan Dunmire, McVeytown, and Dan Taptich, Belleville, to the Mifflin County Hospital Authority for a five-year term, expiring December 31, 2027.

• Service purchase agreement for the use, if necessary, of children and young people, for the services of Bobbie Rabuck, Esquire, State College; Mark Remy, Esquire, of Lewistown, and Pathways Adolescent Center of Oil City.

• Application of the 2022 County Aid liquid fuels allowance to the Township of Granville in the amount of $6,118.

• Canceled the hiring of Walter Cousins ​​as a corrections counselor.

• Resignation of Phillip Callahan as part-time Sheriff’s Deputy effective September 1, 2022.

• Hiring of part-time correctional officer Cohen Hensel effective September 6, 2022.

• Hiring of part-time correctional officer Jay Boreman effective September 7, 2022.

• Hiring of Brian Busko for administrative training and security guard as of September 26, 2022.




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