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Trustees Look Into Cemetery Repairs

Headstones in the oldest part of the Johnson cemetery tilt at precarious angles. The German Township Trustees are discussing a plan to fix the problem.– photo by David Pugh

Headstones in the oldest part of the Johnson cemetery tilt at precarious angles. The German Township Trustees are discussing a plan to fix the problem.– photo by David Pugh

The German Township Trustees are looking into repairs to restore old, tilting headstones at the Johnson Cemetery north of Archbold.

The trustees discussed the project with Andy Dominique during their Monday, July 8 meeting.

Joe Short, president of the trustees, said Dominique works with Homier’s Monumental, who provides monument stones for cemeteries.

Short said Dominique has spent over 40 years working with cemeteries across northwest Ohio, fixing issues such as tilting headstones.

Bob Apger, cemetery sexton, said Johnson Cemetery was opened in 1837.

During the early years, concrete wasn’t used to make foundations for headstones. Instead, holes were dug, foundations of red brick were laid, then the stones were installed over that.

Kenneth “Skip” Leupp, trustee, said over the decades, the red brick has deteriorated, allowing the headstones to tilt and fall over.

The exact number of stones that are in danger of falling is not known. Apger, with Dominique’s help, will take a survey of stones that are in danger of falling.

The solution to the problem is to build a concrete “ribbon.” The ribbon will be a new foundation for the stones, approximately two feet wide.

Its length will be determined by how many stones need new foundations.

Short said any project at the cemetery would have to extend over several years.

The trustees do not have an overall idea of what the project will cost, or how much work will be done each year. Short said he would make calls to determine if there is any grant money available for cemetery repairs.

“We’ve got to start someplace,” said Andy Brodbeck, a trustee.

All trustees were present, and all votes were unanimous.

The next meeting is Monday, July 22, at 7:30 am at the German Township building.