Ongoing Projects

TOURS

Cemetery tours describing history, social times, monument icons, important burials, etc. are given twice a year or by request. Contact Us

MONUMENT RESTORATION PROGRAM

Walkers through historic Hingham Cemetery have seen great changes during the past 10 years. Over 500 Victorian headstones have been repaired, cleaned, and restored. The Cemetery looks now much as it must have in the late 1800's when the hand-carved, marble headstones and monuments were new. The project began with a generous 5-year grant from The Wilder Charitable Educational Fund, Inc. and is continuing with the cemetery's own funds.

Cement liners did not come into use for burials until around the 1920's. Before that, only the wooden casket was buried. As the coffins deteriorated, the ground around the marble monuments often shifted. The unstable ground caused the headstones to tilt, putting stress on the iron or copper (or sometimes brass) pins holding the various sections of the monument together.

Restoration took the form of removing each section, replacing the pins with stainless steel, and reattaching the parts with an architectural-grade stone epoxy. Cracks were filled, and finally the monuments were cleaned, bringing back the original beauty of the stone and highlighting the fine hand carving.

Although made of a single piece of stone, a similar problem often occurs with Colonial slate markers. The shifting ground causes stress on the underground portion of the thin slab, often causing the top to break off at ground level. Slate monuments also have the problem of water seeping between the layers of stone and freezing, causing the slate to crack and peel. More extensive restoration is needed to fill in the voids and seal the top.

Before the restoration program began, many monuments were in disrepair. Broken pieces of headstones were often unnoticed and left where they fell, only to eventually be buried underground. Some were removed or lost. The restored monuments have greatly improved the look of grounds and attract more visitors each year. Thanks to the continuing donations of concerned Hingham residents, restoration continues and the Old Burial Ground (now as Hingham Cemetery) continues to perpetuate "those feelings of respect and gratitude towards those distinguished ancestors whose remains are interred within its limits." as written by founder Adam Thaxter in 1838.
guided tour