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Caring for the dead

It’s been a busy season at Chestnut Street Cemetery as members of the Apalachicola Area Historical Society worked to clean solder tombstones in advance of the Fourth of July holiday.

And it’s about to get even busier as the society prepares to work in conjunction with the city’s public works department to remove trees deemed unsafe.

Shan Raetzloff, chairwoman of the Chestnut Street Cemetery Committee of the AAHS, said three bids have been received and relayed to City Manager Travis Wade for selection by the city commission.

The committee has recommended Tree Help, LLC for the job, based on a low bid of $1,200 per day for removal of five trees, deemed by an arborist to be either dead, toppled or at extreme risk of falling or growing into the perimeter fence. The diameters of the three live oaks are all at least 20 inches, and the laurel oak 12 inches and the sabal palm 17 inches.

Operated by the Wheeler Brothers in Eastpoint, Tree Help was trained by John Golden, owner of J.J.’s Tree Service, which has previously done tree service in Apalachicola, Raetzloff wrote.

“They have also received positive recommendations from members of the community that have used their services,” she wrote.

She said Tree Help will not have to remove fencing and will not cause any damage to the cemetery or its monuments, as they will use a small lift , a small bobcat with rubber treads and a bucket truck for removal of trees from the edges of the cemetery.

“They seem very experienced with climbing for tree removal,” Raetzloff wrote, noting that they are licensed and insured. 

She said the Wheeler brothers believe the project will take a day. The committee is also asking to add another $600 to this bid to have the other half of a sixth tree, a live oak with a diameter of 24 inches In the southeast corner, that has rotted and half of it has fallen away. “The base of it has significant rot and is hanging over the sidewalk in front of the cemetery,” she wrote.

““Please keep the committee in the loop as we would like to be sure the community is aware before these services are rendered and would like to be present as well,” Raetzloff wrote to Wade. “The cemetery is so excited to be moving forward with our preservation plan.”

On Saturday, June 25, the AAHS hosted a workshop on the correct methods to clean monuments of biologics that can harm stones at a workshop at the Chestnut Street Cemetery.

There are 86 marble headstones honoring Civil War veterans donated by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1912. Some have become illegible and in disrepair. 

Based on a June 1, 1912 story in the Apalachicola Times, the Apalachicola Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy placed white marble markers which cost $3 each over all the Civil War veterans’ graves. At that time, they paid for 94 markers, which cost $282.

This Saturday, July 16 at 4 p.m. at the Gorrie Museum, at 16 Sixth Street, the AAHS and the state park will present a tribute to author Vivian Sherlock on the re-publication of her landmark work, The Fever Man, on the life of John Gorrie.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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