residents have been helping Cemetery Sexton Gerrie Heskett to save the
vault and a piece of history at Maple Hill Cemetery in Hartford.
the vault, located in the cemetery, was used in days gone by for storing
bodies during the winter months when the ground was too frozen to bury them.
The caskets would be shelved and then buried the following spring.
The exact date of the building is
unknown, but the cemetery itself was created in 1898 and a sidewalk in front
of the vault was made in 1912, so she believes it is prior to 1912 that it
With the help of Gene Snodgrass,
John Fries, Jack Wilkins, Terri Hazen, Tom Norden and Chris Norden, Heskett
said they are finally nearing completion of the repairs on the building.
Work on the building started last
summer (2006) with volunteer Jack Wilkens, who used his equipment and
expertise to power-wash the building. Heskett said he had to remove
years of mold growth and other things on the roof and sides of the building.
The building was made of blocks
that Wilkins said were made locally at the
Brick Yard in Hartford, which was located where the City
Garage now stands.
Approximately 40 shrubs had to be
removed that had long since outgrown themselves and Heskett said the shrubs
had cracked the sidewalk in front of the building. John Fries and Tom
Norden are planning on repairing the cement
so the engraved name,
Conklin & Simpson Contractors, and
October 19, 1912, can be preserved.
The repairs included rebuilding
the cement overhangs; tearing out the door and reframing it so it would
work; and much, much cleaning. Heskett said a clear seal coat was
applied to the building last fall, but it was too late to do the painting
until this year.
A waterproof seal is being
applied now and the white paint will follow. Heskett said the
lettering on the front of the vault -
Maple Hill Vault - and the wood trim would be in Hartford green.
Heskett said the vault is no
longer used to hold bodies for spring burial. She said the ground
doesn't seem to freeze as hard as it used to, and she does a lot of winter
burials. Heskett said she started working at cemeteries 33 years ago.
At that time, they would sometimes have to use a jackhammer to break the
surface, but she hasn't had to use that process for the last 20 years.
All of the work has been done by
volunteers, Heskett said. Materials that were needed to be purchased
came from the approximately $400 Hartford Township Board had approved for
Heskett said a special thank you
goes out to Mark Kellogg and his crew down at Kellogg's Ace Hardware and to
Bob Anderson and his crew at Red Arrow Lumber for all the expertise and help
they gave on what to use and how to use it.
October 9, 2007
by John Madill
Gerrie Heskett, sexton at the Maple
Hill Cemetery in Hartford, finishes painting the vault, which she believes
dates to the cemetery’s creation in 1898. A century ago burials weren’t
conducted in the winter and caskets were stored in the vault to await the
Heskett said Friday that volunteers have been busy repairing