The gravestones in Elmwood Cemetery, the original Presbyterian burial ground in Hammondsport, are being straightened and repaired as a project of the Village of Hammondsport Beautification Committee with funds from the Fred and Harriet Taylor Foundation. John Degrew of Keuka Construction company is directing the work of five men.
Each stone and monument is being placed on a concrete foundation that extends into the ground from 2 to 4 feet. Broken stones are repaired, pieces are cemented together and then concreted to the base. The joints between the larger stones are being sealed with grout. Once the stones are in place fill dirt is spread around them to raise the level and cover the platforms. The new soil is raked level, then rolled, planted and mulched with straw.
Many of the stones have eroded so much that the letters and numerals are very difficult to read. Mr. Degrew says that the earliest date of a death he has seen so far on a stone is 1811. There are a few in the 1830s and more in the 1840s.
The small brick mausoleum of the Wood family has been sandblasted and the joints repointed after being cut out. The cracked roof stones have been repaired with a silicone sealant. Fourteen names are recorded on a marble slab set into one wall of this structure.
About 400 stones have been placed upright so far. Some stones have been found under a layer of soil. About half of the area of the cemetery has been redone.