EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 6, 2009

Gravestones of Lawrence disaster victims preserved

88 perished in Pemberton Mill blaze


"This is an important part of Lawrence history that is dying," said Jacobs, a Lawrence native.

To keep that from happening, Jacobs had put the toppled headstones upright, and, using aluminum and plastic binding, pieced together the stones that have broken.

His hope is to get financial donations to restore the grave markers to their original luster and generate enough interest to preserve them for the 150th anniversary in 2010.

"I've invested 35 years of my life in this cemetery and the city of Lawrence. This is all part of the city and the cemetery history, so it makes it a part of me."

"I couldn't sleep at night knowing I couldn't preserve it for future generations."

Jacobs said the stones are made of marble, which is easy to carve, but does not hold well to the elements. He wants to preserve the stones by using granite, which lasts longer.

Jacobs has an artist's rendering from Rock of Ages in Methuen that shows the restoration of a memorial for a Julia Roberts, who at 11 is the youngest known casualty.

"There is a historical value here and at some point, they'll all be erased completely. It's sad because it is the history of Lawrence and of the whole country."

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