BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WTAJ) — A piece of our history lies within historic cemeteries but upkeep can often be a challenge. Following a trend on TikTok, there is growing interest in revitalizing these spaces.
At Union Cemetery, members of the Bellefonte Cemetery Association have been gathering volunteers to clean headstones and keep up the landscaping after being let go for some time.
“There’s so much history here and it’s amazing. So, I think it’s important that we, I like to say, we remember the people, we honor them and we preserve their place in history,” Coordinating Secretary Renea Nichols said.
Nichols spent many days walking through Union Cemetery. After countless walks, she noticed some things were off.
“I noticed that the grass was more overgrown,” Nichols said. “There were headstones that were falling over and I was like, “it’s usually really nice like what’s happening?'”
Nichols and other volunteers began to clean the cemetery, but numbers have been an issue.
“One person can’t handle the whole cemetery by themselves, we need the community to get more involved,” Jim Baldwin, Superintendent of the Bellefonte Cemetery Association, said.
The association is working to revitalize the cemetery and is looking to local youth to get involved.
“One of the huge trends on TikTok is headstone cleaning ,” Nichols said. “There’s people who clean headstones and they’ve gotten like 5,000,000 views on there. I’m like, okay, we’ve got to jump into this because this is not just a trend for us, this is something that we have to do.”
After a lesson with Bellefonte High School Students, the association is holding a public workshop on Saturday for all community members to learn how to clean headstones.
“The headstone cleaning is something that, you know, everybody can do,” Nichols said. “If you can’t push the mower and if you can’t weed, you can always come and learn how to clean a headstone and make it look pretty over here.”
Linda Kao volunteers with the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and cleans headstones in the cemetery. She said it’s important for youth to get involved in the cleaning process.
“These are our ancestors, somebody’s ancestors, that deserve to have their memory maintained and for people to remember them,” Kao said. “So, I think it’s very important to have a cemetery that’s well kept.”
The workshop will take place from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Participants are asked to bring latex or rubber gloves to clean.