Red Bank Citizens Start Cemetery Restoration
RED BANK, Tenn. (WDEF)- A group of volunteers in Red Bank came together today to restore a part of their history.
If you drive along Morrison Springs Road in Red Bank frequently, you may not know what is hiding just off of its route.
The Red Bank Cemetery sits behind a row of houses on Oakland Terrace and has been around for an astonishing amount of time.
The City of Red Bank has recently started a cemetery advisory board comprised of citizens.
Their goal is to help maintain and restore cemeteries like the Red Bank Cemetery.
John Shearer, a member of Red Bank’s Cemetery Advisory Board, said, “As far as we can tell it’s been around since the 1800s, we’re still trying to find information on it. It might have been connected to a church. I know the Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian is right over there. We’re not sure but it’s been owned by the city of Red Bank for several decades and some people have been loosely taking care of it.”
Many of the gravestones date back to the mid 1800s and Civil War veterans, civic leaders, and large families are all laid to rest here.
Sal Arrigo, Jr., the chair of the Cemetery Advisory Board, said, “The Red Bank Cemetery needs to be spruced up. The people that are here, we want to honor them. We want to make it a place people want to come to.”
Their plans began today with a cemetery cleanup with about 20 volunteers.
Arrigo, Jr. said, “We’re going to clean the headstones. We’re going to clean the grounds. We’re hopefully going to put in a cut flower garden so people can come up here and place flowers on their loved ones’ headstones.”
The volunteers were shown how to properly clean off a gravestone, which can take up to 30 minutes of intense scrubbing to clean one.
Stefanie Haire, the Regional Historic Preservation Planner for the Southeastern Tennessee Development District said, “We use D-2 Biological Solution because stone and any kind of mansory is quite porous. You soak the stone really heavily with water, then go by and respray this (D-2) all over the stone, then good old fashioned elbow grease before a final rinse.”
The volunteers hope that this restoration work will honor those here as eventually a gate will be put up and the work begins to shine through.
Haire said, “Each one of these stories represents at least one story. One family, one huge moment of time, and my goal is to bring that back to life a little bit.”
Shearer said, “Remembering these people who were an important part of Red Bank’s history. A lot of them gave a lot of their lives for the community and made it into what it is today.”
The Cemetery Advisory Board will be holding more work days to restore that site.
To get in touch with them, contact the City of Red Bank who can refer to their Cemetery Advisory Board.