The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 4, 2012

Beautification board sprucing up Old Town Cemetery

By Kim West
The News Courier



The Athens-Limestone Beautification Board has partnered with the Athens Parks and Recreation Department to spruce up the Old Town Cemetery on East and Washington streets.

The cleanup project started in late October when Parks and Recreation workers cleared out vegetation, dead trees and underbrush.

Ardmore Monument provided assistance two days in early November, and the Beautification Board decorated the cemetery with Christmas wreaths Nov. 26.

“We’ve been working with Athens Parks and Recreation and Ardmore Monument, and slowly restoring one stone at a time,” said Diane Rasdon, a member of the Beautification Board. “We’ve fixed three of the box graves and pressure-cleaned a lot of the stones. We straightened around 20 gravestones and repaired a couple of the tall monuments, including one that had broken in half.”

Old Town has 112 graves dating back nearly 200 years, according to Rasdon. She said at least one Revolutionary War soldier is buried there, along with several Confederate soldiers.

“It’s the oldest cemetery in Athens, and the oldest family buried there is the Vasser family,” she said. “The last burial was 1934, and the first one that can be read was in the 1820s. Burials continued through the mid-1800s, with an occasional burial in the 1900s.”

The Beautification Board also visited Old Town Nov. 26 to adorn 75 gravestones with large Christmas wreaths.

“We just wanted to decorate because most of the families are no longer in Athens,” Rasdon said.

To make a donation to the cemetery renewal project, contact Rasdon at 256-216-8339.