City residents cleaning up graffiti at ancient burial ground - WFSB 3 Connecticut

City residents cleaning up graffiti at ancient burial ground

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City residents are taking it upon themselves to clean up graffiti at an ancient burying ground. (WFSB) City residents are taking it upon themselves to clean up graffiti at an ancient burying ground. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Historic headstones in Hartford have been vandalized, but instead of waiting on city officials to clean it up, city residents are taking it upon themselves to get the job done.

Francis Miller was spending his Columbus Day at the ancient burying ground on Gold Street.

“I'm applying some solvents, clay to try and wick out the fine particles of the indelible ink,” Miller said.

The graffiti was scribbled by permanent marker, and getting it off the headstones from the 1600s was an intricate process.

“You have to know what stones are okay to do what to. You can't just go in and clean it like it's a park sign,” said Ruthie Brown, of Connecticut Gravestone Network.

Brown isn’t an employee at the cemetery at Center Church, nor is Miller.

They are not a relative of anyone buried there either. They simply want to keep Hartford’s history intact.

“The ‘friends group’ with the city of Hartford who volunteered and removed a lot from the central granite monument, which was fantastic,” Miller said.

The ancient burial ground has been plagued by the graffiti before and it’s tough to get out.

Markings were found on granite, marble, bronze, slate and sandstone.

“Black particles have migrated into the stone grates. It's not an easy process at this point,” Miller said.

While the city owns the burial ground, it’s the Ancient Burial Grounds Association’s job to make sure it stays pure. It’s important to them because they said it’s one of the last true Hartford landmarks.

“It is not the first cemetery of the city, but it is the oldest remaining one of Hartford, and that would be Hartford as it was back in those days, not the different cities it's been divided up to since,” Brown said.

The organization said they believe they know the person behind this and may have even met him.

They won’t be pressing charges because of the mental struggles he has.

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