Sunday, November 1, 2009

More St. Nicholas

It is a rainy Sunday and All Saints Day, so I thought I would post a few more pictures from our final day of monument recovery at St. Nicholas Cemetery.

Near the existing early 20th-century church, the US Navy had mapped several markers in 1943. Years after the Navy toppled and buried those stones, it built a parking lot on the east side of the church and a sidewalk that wrapped around from the east to north sides. The topography on the north side of the church, however, was too steep at the time for parking lot and sidewalk construction. The Navy leveled the land by dumping two feet or more of fill. The fill further buried the monuments.

Scott and I managed to recover all but one of the mapped markers, but we thought the depth of the fill made finding...never mind recovering...the last stone impractical. Clever men that we are, we decided to add that stone to our list of monuments that might best be recovered with machinery.

Last Friday, that is what we did: we used the backhoe to remove a couple of feet of fill, allowing us to easily probe the sediments for the missing stone. It was remarkably easy, and we turned a three hour job with an uncertain chance of success into a one hour job with certain success.

In this sequence of photographs, you can see where we started, the point at which we were able to find and delineate the stone and its plinth or base, and the final lifting of the stone.

We haven't re-erected the stone is lying on the grass next to the backfilled hole. We are waiting for the soil to settle after a good rain and Scott has to replace the two under-sized metal pins that originally held the marker on its base. When re-erected, the monument will be in its correct horizontal position, but it will be about 1.5 ft higher than its original setting to adjust for the thick layer of fill the Navy deposited. If we set the marker on the original ground surface, only the top would protrude above the current grade.


PS. The PTAP team returns to the Swann House site at Port Tobacco Monday and Tuesday of this week. All are welcome. Our schedule for the remainder of the week is uncertain as we may have to schedule fieldwork for projects in adjoining counties.--JGG

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