Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Poured Concrete Tombstone

In my travels thru graveyards and recording tombstones I occasionally come across the poured concrete tombstone.  Some of these seem to be commercially made, others are homemade.  Virtually all are in poor condition.



Now I assume the main reason for a concrete tombstone instead of granite or limestone would be money.  In some cases however I am sure it was because the family or friend felt they could make it a more personal monument to the deceased.



There are two drawbacks to the concrete tombstone that I see.  First the surface is more porous than granite and as such they erode more quickly and moss and fungus settle on them more than with granite.  The second is the engraving or lettering.  If you have at any time wrote your name in wet concrete you know the lettering is usually only as wide as the nail, or pointed stick that you use to write with.  You also will find out the still moist concrete will flow back into the lettering making the letters even more narrow.  Over the years this narrow lettering and the amount of fungus on the concrete will make it difficult to read.


These poured concrete tombstones can be found in just about every older graveyard and I wish I had taken photos of some of them I have seen over the years.  The examples shown are all mostly from the local area.







These last two photos I feel are also poured concrete based on the width of  lettering and the condition of the  stone.  Altho both show a certain neatness and order not achieved in the other photos.

Update:  From the Parkersburg News and Sentinel  (West Virginia) http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/576141/Historical-society-proposes-cemetery-changes.html?nav=5061

Proposals for changes at the Wood County Poor Farm Cemetery to make maintenance easier and improve burial recording-keeping were submitted to the Wood County Commission.  In 1864 the Overseers of the Poor purchased about 300 acres of the former Kincheloe property to establish a farm to care for the indigent of the county. Many of the burial records for the cemetery were lost when the infirmary at the poor farm was destroyed by fire in 1950. The county-owned cemetery is in the parking lot of West Virginia University at Parkersburg.  Bob Enoch with the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society  proposed the commission consider having concrete stones, which Enoch said are relatively inexpensive, be placed as headstone markers instead of larger monument style markers, at least on the new graves. He showed the commissioners a sample of such a concrete marker.   County officials said for indigents buried at the county cemetery, the county pays about $250 for burial and the plot and the state pays about $1,250 to reimburse for interment.

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