TEXARKANA, Arkansas – At the State Line Cemetery in Texarkana, Arkansas, there are graves of people who were buried over 100 years ago.
A tombstone restorer held a beginners course there on Saturday, to teach people how to properly preserve the history and memories of their loved ones.
All headstones in State Line Cemetery are physical and historical reminders of a lifetime.
If there is no maintenance, the stones deteriorate and it is a lost record.
“When you place a headstone for a family member, how long do you want it to stay there? You want it there for as long as possible in memory of the person you love,” explained Leita Spears, Handle with Care Monument Services.
Spears helps people learn how to safely clean and care for their family markers.
She says one of the most common mistakes people make is using wire brushes, stealing wool or harsh chemicals like bleach.
“It whitens so it looks better quickly, but the stone has a PH level and an acidity level and so does bleach. They don’t work together. Bleach will actually break down and destroy a stone from within,” Spears said.
She says you should also avoid using flour or shaving cream to read the markings.
Another big problem is eating weeds or using a lawnmower to get close to the stone.
“Everyone who put a stone here wants it to last. It’s part of what we do. We help maintain these legacies, so future generations can come here and see their family stones,” Spears said.
Each person in the workshop received a personal cleaning kit to get started with the right tools.
The kit included D-2 organic cleaner, soft scrub brushes, paint sticks and water.
Spears says these are some of the main things you need to get started.
The Texarkana Museum System organized the cemetery maintenance workshop.
For more information on their upcoming events, visit the Regional History Museum Facebook page.