The City of Norfolk considers all monuments, statues, mausoleums, and tombs placed within its historic municipal cemeteries to be private property. Therefore, there is no funding to maintain and/or repair these objects of cultural heritage, art, and history. Friends and families of the long deceased have moved on or passed away so the option of contacting them in hopes of restorative funding is not a viable one. The community must come together to save these objects and artifacts that make up the cultural landscapes that are Norfolk's historic municipal cemeteries. Your donation goes directly to active, ongoing conservation and advocacy efforts.
One such project is the restoration of the John H. and Martha Core Mausoleum. The Core, as it is affectionately known by local cemetery enthusiasts, is in grave danger of collapsing if its water drainage system is not repaired. The drains placed on the roof of the mausoleum in 1919 have ceased to function and acid rain is leaching the minerals out of the granite of both the exterior supporting columns and the interior walls. The estimated cost to repair the drainage system is $13,000. This does not include restoration of the damage that has already been wrought.
The story of the John and Emma LeKies Mausoleum is a cautionary tale about what happens when cemeteries are not secured with adequate fencing, a locking gate, and security cameras posted in areas where theft is a high risk. In the fall of 2012, two men used a crowbar and a saw to cut up the bronze vases and connectors that served as a decorative fence surrounding the LeKies Mausoleum. They did this on a weekend, in the light of day, and then drove their truck out of the cemetery gates. Though most of the stolen items were recovered, the police allowed the salvage yard operator to keep the bronze piping as a consolation prize for reporting the theft. All that was recovered, therefore, were the bronze connectors and vase (see slide show right). All stolen elements were handcrafted by noted public art sculpture, William Couper. We hope to someday restore the LeKies Mausoleum to its former glory but first we must ensure the security of Elmwood Cemetery. Your donation and/or membership to/with NSCC will help us achieve this goal!
As a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, NSCC welcomes your support through contributions! The conservation projects pictured on this page represent a portion of the conservation needs for the more than 350 acres that encompass Norfolk's historic municipal cemeteries. Every dollar counts. All funding goes directly to ongoing conservation projects within Norfolk's historic municipal cemeteries. Click on the Donate button below to make a tax deductible contribution to the NSCC.
If you are interested in joining the effort to save these outdoor museums as a NSCC member, Sign up here for membership information.
Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation
P.O. Box 11446
Norfolk, Virginia 23517
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