Over 240 volunteers worked together Saturday prepping and painting the historical fence at Greenlawn Cemetery located in Portsmouth.
All ages could be seen working side-by-side wire brushing and painting. Passersby could see once again something wonderful happening in Portsmouth. This trend appears to be becoming infectious, it is volunteerism and cleaning up the community. Public and private partnerships between the City of Portsmouth and local non-profits are making a difference in the community.
Saturday’s project, under the direction of the Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation and the City of Portsmouth, is returning the iron fencing to its original black color. “Because of the color change it is taking a little longer to paint the entire fence, but the community had indicated they wanted it to return to black, so after investigating the possibility and working with city, it was determined this would be possible. according to Diane Applegate, FOGCF Board Member who chaired the event along with Amy Keating and local pastor John Gowdy.
Positive comments could be heard everywhere, including social media about the return to the original black paint. “It is a lot of work, but everyone seems to be happy with the choice,” said Diane Applegate.
Volunteers from many area churches and schools as well as SOMC, Hope Source, Compass Community Health and the FOGCF members joined together to help paint.
Over the past 16 months, many restoration and preservation projects have been underway at Greenlawn. Established in 1829, the cemetery encompasses forty acres within the City of Portsmouth and is presently one of oldest working cemeteries in the State of Ohio. Over the coming days, individuals who want to be part of the fence painting are encouraged to report after 1:00 pm each day and Friends of Greenlawn will provide supplies to participate. People can also reach out to the group on their Facebook page to arrange a time to paint.
“A huge “thank you” to Sam Sutherland, city manager, Chris Tomlin, city engineering and his team, Service Director Bill Beaumont’s team and everyone else from the City of Portsmouth’s workforce who joined forces and made Saturday’s Community Fence Painting possible. What great support from our city. We are Portsmouth Proud,” Applegate added.
The FOGCF has been working for over 16 months on restoration and preservation projects within the cemetery. In May 2018, the slate roof on the historic Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel constructed, in 1884 was replaced as well as the exterior of the building tuck-pointed, cleaned and sealed.
FOGCF President Debbie Gambill added that over the coming months the community will see the replacement of the doors and windows, as the chapel is prepared once again for public use. “We want to see the community utilize this beautiful building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We are hopeful families will want to have memorial services in the chapel as well as funeral services,” Gambill said. “Our future plans include a memorial garden to be located adjacent to the chapel where individuals can spend a few moments in remembrance of someone they have lost.”
Individuals will also see the partnership between the FOGCF and the Scioto County Career and Technical Center rebuilding the brick terraces that surround many of the sections within the cemetery, particularly on the Grant Street side, which have been reported in the Daily Times.
On October 13 and 14th, the historical re-enactment, The Story of Us, “Portsmouth Goes to War” will highlight the sacrifices the community made to the war effort. This two night event will feature local actors, under the direction of Linda Tieman, portraying Scioto Countians who lost their lives in the war effort. The production will also highlight the stories of those individuals who were left behind. Proceeds from the productions will be used to continue the restoration of the chapel. Tickets are priced at $30 and are available at Sherman Kricker Insurance and Neal Hatcher’s Real Estate Office.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928