GREENCASTLE, Ind. – Preservationists are taking a new approach in their effort to restore a Civil War monument in a Greencastle cemetery.
The limestone structure isn’t unique enough to warrant a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. But now members of the Putnam County Heritage Preservation Society are moving to have the entire Forest Hill Cemetery placed in the register.
The Banner-Graphic reports the group has enlisted Indianapolis contractor John Warner to research the cemetery’s historic significance and nominate it for the national register.
A registry listing could make both the cemetery and the monument eligible for grants to help restore the 143-year-old monument, which stands 29 feet tall and bears the names of 321 Putnam County soldiers killed in the Civil War.
Preservation society member Phil Gick said Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology officials who visited the cemetery were intrigued by its features, which include crypts built into sides of a ravine, Art Deco-style mausoleums and abbeys and stone bridges.
The cemetery is the final resting place of Esther and Gustavus Lilly, the parents of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, and Pearl Bryan, who was killed in 1896. Her headless remains were discovered in Fort Thomas, Ky., and cemetery visitors often placed a penny on her grave so that she could be whole again on resurrection day.
The monument is a hollow, three-tiered structure. The bottom portion is made of Indiana limestone from Oolitic in Lawrence County, while the upper section appears to be a variety of sandstone.
The center section of the monument – titled “Western Soldier on Guard” and sculpted by Thomas David Jones – is made of Berea sandstone.
Gick said the quarries that produced the sandstone have closed, but preservationists have identified other quarries that have the material still in stock.
The Forest Hill monument, which was dedicated July 2, 1870, is believed to be the earliest Indiana example of a military figure appearing on a Civil War memorial.
The effort to save the monument has raised nearly $30,000. The restoration cost is estimated at $75,000 to $80,000.
“We’ve made good progress,” Gick said. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”
Information from: (Greencastle) Banner Graphic, http://www.bannergraphic.com