Carver Cemetery wall rebuild

DIAMOND, Mo. — Concrete is a basic ingredient in constructing most kinds of walls, but it’s not being used to rebuild one of the Four State’s most historic walls.

Rocks may last for millions of years, but that’s not always the case for rock walls. Case in point, the structure that surrounds the graveyard at the historic Carver National Monument.

For the first time since it was built, it’s getting a complete makeover thanks to a historic preservation crew from the National Park Service.

The project is being paid for by the Legacy Restoration Fund through the Great American Outdoors Act.

“It was constructed in the 50s and then over time, you know, there were repairs that were done here and there, but this is the first full-scale restoration of the wall,” said James Heaney, Park Superintendent, Carver National Monument.

But this particular wall is being constructed without concrete.

“So dry stone masonry is all about gravity and friction. So, when your doing dry stack walls, retaining walls, you build them with a little bit of batter or back lean instead of building them plum and so if they’re ever falling into what they’re retaining, they’re gonna last a lot longer,” said Derek Beitner, Mason, N.P.S. Historic Preservation Crew.

You can tell how this inner portion of the existing wall has lost its structural integrity, and the goal is to rebuild it to look just like it did when it was first built.

Workers disassemble sections of the wall then decide which stones they want to keep, and then they add new stones along with those to rebuild that section.

Although George Washington Carver himself, his mother, father, and brother weren’t laid to rest here, Moses Carver and his wife Susan, who helped raise George after his mother’s disappearance, as well as several other carver family members are.

Even though some of the rock used to rebuild the wall will be new, it will be hard to differentiate.

“It’s basically the same material. It’s a mix of chert and sandstone found fairly locally so it should match up, and it’s about the same stuff really,” said Derek Beitner, Mason, N.P.S. Historic Preservation Crew.

The $272,000 project started last week and is expected to be finished in late July.

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