Mt. Zion Cemetery Restoration
Initiative Fractal's ninth initiative was to restore as much of historic Mt. Zion Cemetery in College City as possible by May 2018. The majority of gravestones have now been cleaned using the non-toxic cleaner D2, and many smaller markers have been reset. Fall 2017 and spring 2018 workdays primarily focused on painting cast iron fences and resetting large toppled monuments.
IF was by no means the first group to invest its time in the cemetery. Decades prior, a group of College City residents banded together to clear the then-overgrown cemetery and undo years of neglect. In the spring of 2016, the WBC Bancroft History Society held a workday to scrub lichen off of gravestones and straighten several that had fallen. That same year, College City employee Bill Young and his grandson Jonathan volunteered at the cemetery on their own time, restoring scattered gravestones to their correct locations and repairing cracked gravestones.
Recently, IF has looked into the legal aspects of the cemetery in order to develop a plan for its future. A transcription of a deed for a 1904 one-acre expansion of the cemetery can be found here.
More than any other project IF has attempted yet, this initiative has required a massive investment of time to complete. Of the several hundred stones in the cemetery the majority of them needed cleaning, resetting, repair, or a combination thereof. Fortunately a number of individuals and groups stepped up to volunteer their help, and the cemetery's transformation has been dramatic.