Restoration Efforts Continue at Eastside Cemetery
A historic headstone for one of Woodbridge’s 19th century forefathers was replaced recently at Eastside Cemetery on Pease Road, thanks to the efforts of John Nolan of Hamden Monument, who donated the engraving and the replacement of the stone. The original stone for Allen Peck (dated 1837) had been missing for many years. The original was probably broken or deteriorated to such an extent that it might have been removed, said Todd Sasso, cemetery superintendent and member of the Eastside Burying Ground Association. Using cemetery records, they were able to determine the exact location and install the new stone in its original location.
The replacement is a piece of bluestone curbing that was about to be discarded from a construction project on Railroad Avenue in Bridgeport, when Sasso was working there. Many pieces from the construction project were salvaged and saved for future replacement of stones.
Allen Peck’s brings to a total of 29 the stones that have been replaced over a four-year period. Many were paid for by the Eastside Burying Ground Association, two veterans’ stones were paid for by the Veterans Administration, and some by private donations. All the stones were engraved by John Nolan at little to no cost.
The Association is reaching out to the community to support its efforts at historic preservation. People who are interested and able to donate toward the restoration of these special stones can reach board members through the website, www.eastsideburyingground.org.
Over the last four years, the cemetery board has focused on repair and restoration work at the cemetery. Sasso has been repairing and restoring many of the broken stones in the old section of the cemetery. Some 70 headstones have been repaired.
While digging up the headstones for repair, they also discovered 28 footstones, some of which also required repair. All were matched with the headstone they belonged with and they can now be seen for the first time in many years.
Additional work consisted of cleaning of stones, repairing some of the iron railings, repair of the front entrance gates, pruning of trees and overall general cleanup. The condition of the cemetery has greatly improved and there are no longer any broken stones lying on the ground, said Stephanie Ciarleglio, who also serves on the board, along with Sheila McCreven and Chris Sorensen.