June 26, 2014
By Kelly Sowell, Elmwood Historian
A few months ago, Jasper Smith was featured on this blog. His and his sisters’ monuments are the first ones most people notice when entering the cemetery. In the blog post from February, you can see that both Jasper and his lion are quite dirty. They are covered with dirt, pollution and some orange lichens. The soft white marble is very porous so it tends to wick up air pollutants which become more difficult to clean over time. Biological growth, like lichens, fungi and bacteria, tend to be acidic and can actually etch into the stone over time, obscuring details or inscriptions.
Knowing that Jasper’s lion was probably a gleaming white statue when it was first installed, I have wanted to clean it for a long time. This past Saturday I invited this spring’s Stone College graduates to clean some monuments. We cleaned Jasper’s lion and several others nearby. I was impressed to see how clean it got even after just a few applications of the cleaning solution and scrubbing. It took some extra time to get into the tighter spaces like the lion’s mouth and the nooks and crannies within his mane. The D/2 solution soaks into the porous stone and continues to work after scrubbing so a volunteer sprayed the statue down once more before leaving Saturday and it really did continue to work. The recent rain washed some more of the grime away and the lion looked wonderful this morning.
It is so satisfying to see the difference a few hours of cleaning can do for a monument, but it is rewarding to know that our efforts have helped to preserve the lion which is in place to preserve the memory of Jasper Smith.
If you are interested in participating in projects like this one, you should sign up for Stone College in November. After the class, you will be invited back to help when we plan cleaning and restoration projects. We can also do a private class for 10-15 adults. Thank you to volunteers Erin Hillis, Pam Rummage, Lisbeth Redden, and Joshua Cooper for your help cleaning monuments!