Sally Corrigan, a dealer for Homestead Realty in Mendota, has taken a particular curiosity in preserving Restland Cemetery. What started as only a place to take walks, Restland has turn out to be a spot Corrigan cherishes, researches tales on folks laid to relaxation, and just lately took a category on tips on how to correctly look after and enhance tombstones. (Reporter photograph by Brandon LaChance)
By BRANDON LaCHANCE
MENDOTA – When Sally Corrigan started strolling at Restland Cemetery in Mendota, she observed one thing.
The tombstones, the gravesites, and the folks they characterize want preservation.
Corrigan, who’s a dealer for Homestead Realty, has since made it a precedence to assist bear in mind historical past, artwork, and rural tradition.
“I wish to assist enhance Restland Cemetery,” Corrigan stated. “Once I began strolling on the cemetery, it was one of many first ones that I’ve seen with so many stones upheaved, buried, and in unhealthy form for it being so near residential areas in a city. It shocked me.
“I come from a really tiny group, Toulon (Stark County) that was based earlier than Mendota. The stones are upright and never damaged.”
On Saturday, June 10, Corrigan attended the Cemetery Preservation Workshop in Decatur.
The category began within the classroom after which went to the cemetery to present the scholars a hands-on perspective of headstone and cemetery preservation.
Corrigan loved and appreciated what she realized on the workshop sponsored by Illinois Division of Pure Sources and John Heider, Restoration in Progress.
Daybreak Cobb, archaeologist with the IDNR, introduced two class periods in the course of the workshop.
“Quite a lot of the outdated cemeteries didn’t use vaults. There was only a wood casket, so typically bones could present up,” Corrigan stated. “It’s type of neat how the state has an archaeologist that does these items.”
Corrigan has taken curiosity in Restland Cemetery on her personal accord.
She isn’t a part of a board.
She isn’t affiliated with Restland.
The Mendota dealer is a morning walker who desires to know the historical past of every tombstone and have it seem like it’s an necessary image as a result of it’s.
“Once I was a child, we took plenty of rides. I grew up in a farmhouse and we didn’t have air-con,” Corrigan stated. “At evening, when my dad would are available from farming, we’d take a journey to get ice cream, take a look at the crops, and go to our ancestors at cemeteries. Cemeteries have at all times been attention-grabbing to me.
“On the class, they stated cemeteries had been the unique museums for rural folks. You’ll come out and take a look at sculpture. Among the tombstones are very creative. They arrive from all around the world. Cemeteries had been locations of historical past, tradition, languages – there’s completely different fonts and languages within the carvings – and there was rod-iron fencing as gates round household plots. All of it instructed a narrative.”
Strolling round Restland, Corrigan can see the place the fencing was and the way intricate the household space was.
As an alternative of parks, which rural areas didn’t have in Victorian instances, cemeteries had been the areas the place folks went on late afternoons or mid-day Sunday strolls and picnics.
Cemeteries gained’t be thought-about much like parks in trendy instances, however Corrigan believes preservation of cemeteries is necessary and ought to be completed.
“Cemeteries aren’t scary,” Corrigan stated. “They’re a spot the place you go to your loved ones. Within the older days, it was the place for household, and it saved the cemeteries in fine condition.”