Established in October 2007 with the goal of developing a prioritized list of stone markers to be repaired in the Eastern Cemetery, the group was inspired by a workshop given by the late Fred Oakley, a highly-regarded conservator, teacher, author and one of the founders of The Association for Gravestone Studies.
The project requires us to build on and compare current conditions of stones to the records compiled by local historian William B. Jordan, Jr. in 1987 and Portland City engineer William A. Goodwin in 1890. We began surveying the cemetery by section in May 2008 and completed these tasks:
- Transcribe epitaphs
- Measure stone markers
- Assess marker condition
- Map current marker location and compare to previous coordinates
In spring 2008 we began to analyze collected data and develop a priority list for stabilization and repair of high-risk stones in Section B. This report was submitted to the city's Historic Preservation office. The Section A survey was completed in November 2009. During the 2010 season, we transcribed the stones in Sections C through F. From May to October 2011, we copmleted sections G-K and finished all 85 tombs in Section A. To accompany the data we have transcribed from the stones, we are creating a photography archive.
This phase of the project was started in July 2012. A team of photographers, armed with digital cameras, began the task of photographing the stones in Section B. For each stone, this meant a series of images including back, front, sides, details and context. The photos were then uploaded to a group area online where they will be matched with the data gathered in phase 1 of the project.
This project continues in 2013!
If you are interested in volunteering to photograph or assisting with photographing gravestones in the cemetery, learn about how to contribute! You will get tips and tricks to help you with gravestone photography, as well as how to upload digital photos to our shared space. We will be training volunteers on an on-going basis, and plan to conduct an onsite introduction on how to photograph stones and how to contribute to the project on your own time.
We are also conducting conservation and preservation tasks.
For more information, email us today.