The historic renovation program for the Garden Cemetery in Chelsea continues on this winter with restoration crews now working on restoring and setting the old tombstones in the cemetery – a key part of Phase 3. The Garden Cemetery is an historic property, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, but has fallen on tough times over the last decade or more.
About one year ago, the City’s Planning Department unveiled a multi-phase project to fully restore the cemetery, and now Phase 3 is underway. The current phase includes restoring some of the older stones, and also building a retaining wall.
“We’re planning to fully fund this and we have at least three more years of work there to do,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. The project has been headed up by Planner Karl Allen. Recently, preservationists restored the stone of Capt. Olsen, who was lost at sea in 1862.
Meanwhile, the hard work in this part of the project is finding all of the broken pieces for many of the stones, and then getting them re-assembled. Most are broken, and many of the pieces are scattered about the cemetery. The contractor uses a previously completed inventory of the monuments and grave markers to locate, sort, and assess each one, before beginning the careful restoration of each feature. Right now, the contractor is seeking to continue monument restoration throughout the winter.