How your donations support Maple Hill Cemetery

Do you know or have you ever wondered what the funds donated to HPA and the Angels of Maple Hill are used for? Thanks to the generosity of our wonderful donors, over the last three decades, HPA has funded almost $400,000 in restoration to Maple Hill Cemetery. In recent years, HPA has sponsored tree replacement and wall repair and is now, once again, working on the refurbishment of monuments in Maple Hill.  

 

Before work can begin on monuments in city cemeteries, a permit must be received from the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC). Ms. Tara Sloan, Director of Cemeteries for the City of Huntsville, applies for these permits by providing AHC with a detailed description of how the repair will be completed and a “before” photograph of the monument. This process must be completed for each individual monument that is to be repaired. Additionally, AHC requires that specific, approved materials be used in cemetery restoration projects and once complete, an “after” photo must be submitted. If the methods and materials used to make the repairs are acceptable, the permit is then closed. 

 

Over the last 15-20 years, restoration work was completed by Mr. Skip Stenson. Mr. Stenson, a former employee in the Inspection Department of the City of Huntsville, used his free time to work on restoration projects in the city cemeteries. In 2021, Mr. Stenson decided it was time to retire and a search began for a replacement. 

 

Ms. Sloan, who has been in her position for almost two years, conducted this search and found Ms. Savannah Winn with Southeast Tombstone and Cemetery Restoration, LLC. Ms. Winn has been in the monument business since 2017 and specializes in monument repair; she’s also passionate about monument preservation which made her an excellent candidate for the efforts at Maple Hill. Ms. Winn, who resides in Cave Spring, Georgia, traveled to Huntsville in September 2022 and brought examples of works she had completed. While here, she walked through Maple Hill with Ms. Sloan to discuss the cemetery, look at various monuments and discuss which monuments were to be repaired. In November 2022, Ms. Sloan began the permit process by submitting “before” photos of those monuments. The permits were issued on January 30, 2023. 

 

Ms. Winn returned in February 2023 and repaired five monuments with various styles of breaks. For each of the monuments she repaired, she used state-approved methods and materials to repair and reattach the tablet portion of the monument. Typically, cleaning is also included with the repair work, but due to the repairs being completed in winter months, the water source at Maple Hill was turned off and D2 (the approved chemical for monument cleaning) doesn’t perform as well in cold weather. As a result, the cleaning was postponed until a later date. The photos and details of the work performed were submitted to the state in late February and the permit was closed out soon after. 

 

Ms. Sloan intends to have Ms. Winn come to Huntsville twice a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, to conduct repairs in Maple Hill. When asked about the importance of the restoration work in Maple Hill and throughout the city cemeteries, Ms. Sloan commented, “The greatest service we as a department and city can provide to our community is to do our part to ensure all those buried in our cemeteries are respected and remembered. Through preservation efforts, we have the unique opportunity to honor past generations by restoring and protecting monuments erected with a uniqueness dedicated to every individual that tells a small portion of their life’s story through inscriptions and symbols.” Each donation received by HPA and Angels of Maple Hill helps to ensure this important work continues for generations to come.