Free gravestone preservation workshop in Victor

(VICTOR, Colo.) — The fifth annual 48 State Tour, a free national gravestone preservation workshop, will make Sunnyside Cemetery, built in the 1890s, one of its 56 stops across the continental U.S. on Friday, July 12.

Across the U.S., cemeteries and graveyards are deteriorating, and communities often lack the funding, training, and resources to restore the fallen and broken stones in need of repair. To address this problem, Atlas Preservation created the workshop tour, which has grown to help manifest a grassroots movement across the country.

The event, starting at 9 a.m. on July 12 at Sunnyside Cemetery, features hands-on restoration and discussion until about 3 p.m. It includes a tour with historical information, practical demonstrations on cleaning and repairing gravestones, and a focus on necessary repairs. The goal is to equip the community with knowledge to continue the work.

  • Touring gravestone preservation workshop in Victor
    Courtesy: Victor Museum
  • Touring gravestone preservation workshop in Victor
    Courtesy: Victor Museum

Sunnyside Cemetery is located west of Victor on County Road 87. From Victor Avenue, turn west at Seventh Street and drive about 0.9 miles down the dirt road to the cemetery entrance.

Tickets are free, though attendees are asked to bring their own lunch, snacks, sunscreen, and water. There are no restrooms at the cemetery, but lunch break will give time for people to travel into Victor to use public restrooms in the plaza.

Guests should prepare for mountain weather, which can include wind, cold temperatures, snow, and rain, and also wear good hiking shoes or boots, and a hat. Those planning on assisting with repair work should wear old clothes and be prepared to get dirty.

Donations for restoration materials will be accepted at the cemetery or by check to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, P.O. Box 238, Victor, CO 80860. Please add a note that donations are for the Sunnyside Cemetery Preservation Project.

Online donations can be made at via the Yellow Donate Button under the Sunnyside Cemetery workshop/event information. Checks can also be sent to the City of Victor at P.O. Box 86, Victor, CO 80860, noting the donation is for the cemetery.

Local historians Alicia Petri and Veldean Myers will provide historical context at the event. The earliest recorded burial is of 3-year-old Maggie Ferrans, who died on April 26, 1891.

The tour is conducted by Jonathan Appell, founder and CEO of Atlas Preservation. For nearly 25 years, Appell has performed projects and training in monument restoration, including work on “The Knight’s Tomb,” the oldest gravestone in America.

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