Carbondale Woodlawn Cemetery in need of repairs

Carbondale’s Historic Woodlawn Cemetery deals with damage caused not by time or the elements...but by vandals.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - The City of Carbondale is taking steps to repair headstones damaged by vandals at the historic Woodlawn Cemetery.

“With many of those headstones, we can’t read what’s on it anymore,” said Roni LeForge, public relations officer for the City of Carbondale.

All of the headstones at Woodlawn date back 1800s.

“People in Carbondale take a lot of pride in Woodlawn cemetery because this was the location of the first Memorial Day service in Illinois and one of the first in the nation which happened in April of 1866,” LeForge said.

Damage to the headstones occurred in early spring of 2020.

“It appears that someone came out here and damaged or kicked over several headstones out here,” said LeForge.

The city said they have three options for fixing the stones.

“If they’re broken down in place you can lay them over and cement them in concrete or the other option is to completely replace the headstone with a marble type,” LeForge said.

A third option is to use bands to re-assemble and hold the broken pieces in place.

Each stone will be evaluated for the best repair option.

Word of the vandalism didn’t catch the attention of many living in the community.

However, when Scott Thorne saw the damage for himself while attending the city’s Memorial Day service, he offered to make a donation to help with the restoration to the historic cemetery.

“The donation is not nearly enough to help with the repairs but it is something,” Thorne, said.

“We want to keep the historic look of Woodlawn Cemetery; we take a lot of pride in what we have here, and we just want to be good stewards of this property and make sure that all of the people who are buried here are honored,” LeForge said.

The City of Carbondale has the funds set aside to pay for the repairs, but the city welcomes anyone who wants to make a donation.

Checks can be made out to the City of Carbondale with “Woodlawn Cemetery” written on the memo line and mailed to City Hall.

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