Some segments of Portsmouth’s Greenlawn Cemetery has fallen into disrepair, and a group of citizens has come together to try to remedy some of the problems. Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery has approached the City of Portsmouth and been granted permission to bring volunteers together to get the work done.
On Monday night, Debbie Gambill of Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery addressed Portsmouth City Council and told them the group wants to work to make Greenlawn a safer and more beautiful place. Additionally, Gambill stressed the importance of digitalizing all of the records so that anyone, anywhere, can go online and get information about the cemetery.
After the meeting, Gambill spokes with the Daily Times.
“We just felt that the cemetery was a worthy cause,” Gambill said. “When we go there, we have seen that the city can’t pay for everything. They’re (city) having serious issues with funding, and because of that, Melissa Appleton and I, along with Mary Arnzen, started doing so in December, thinking if there’s a project we could get behind, it’s our founding fathers.”
Gambill said some of the most prominent names in the city of Portsmouth are there, including — Hutchinson, Timmonds, Micklethwaite, and Waller.
“Their monuments are there and we feel that that is the history of our city and we need to do something to make sure that it’s protected,” Gambill said. “I think that, as Reverend (John) Gowdy said, our focus is preservation and restoration.”
Gambill said Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery would like to start with a memorial area beside the chapel where the city removed a shed in recent years.
“We’d like to work with the city to restore the chapel because Reverend Gowdy would actually like to have funeral services in the chapel,” Gambill said. “Instead of just for Memorial Day, we’d like to open up for services. so that would provide better access during terribly inclement weather.”
Gambill said the cost of digitalizing the records would be approximately $21,000.
Where does that money come from?
“We’re going to raise it,” Gambill said. “We’ve already had people wanting to give us large amounts of money. We anticipate that we won’t have any trouble.”
Gambill said people planning funerals can make it known, in lieu of flowers, to make contributions to Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.