Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mighty Oak Breaks and Tumbles at the IOOF Pioneer Cemetery

On a walk over the weekend, it was surprising to see a tree toppled over in the cemetery. It looked like the Oak had a bifurcated trunk, and one of the forks had failed.

Half of an old Oak fell in the cemetery (August 1st, afternoon)
The toppled canopy spread out a ways. The branches wrapped over and around several monuments, but it was not possible to see how much damage if any the tree fall might have caused.

Yesterday evening, crews were wrapping up after removing the branches and piecing up the trunk.

Most of it cut up and removed (August 3rd, evening)
The monument for James Davidson, one of our five Veterans of the War of 1812, was intact.

It missed James Davidson! (the 3rd)
The monument for Simeon Bartlett was not so lucky.

But it took out Simeon Bartlett
at some point (the 3rd)
Bartlett's monument was upright on Saturday, however, and it appears that the tree crew, directly or indirectly may have dislodged it. After it fell, sections of the tree were propped awkwardly, and with a cut it would be easy to release a segment to the ground in unpredictable ways, even without striking the monument more directly with equipment or something else.

But on August 1st, the Bartlett monument was upright
(Bartlett in front, Davidson behind)
Previously, we have seen tire tracks over curbing and other evidence that cars and ordinary visitors have caused damage to the cemetery. There's some amount of non-intentional damage that is a kind of extraordinary wear-and-tear on the cemetery.

As we debate a connection through one or the other cemetery, and some people fret about vandalism or extra wear-and-tear from additional people walking through the cemetery, we should give more visibility to existing sources and causes of cemetery damage. I believe harms that are not intentional vandalism are currently under-reported, and this is a convenient part of the rhetorical maneuver to focus on the fear of new damage and minimize what damage is already occurring.

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