Headstones At Hutchinson Cemetery Vandalized

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A senseless act of destruction in Hutchinson is sure to ruin the upcoming holiday weekend.

Graveyard vandals have done damage to one of the city’s historic areas. Eastside Cemetery, the oldest graveyard in Hutchinson, was targeted this time. 67 headstones were either turned over or broken. The timing couldn’t be worse.

"It is just senseless. There's no point to it," says Eastside’s Cemetery Sexton Zach Phillips.

He surveys damage believed done late Tuesday night at the graveyard, which was established in 1878. He says some of the oldest headstones will never be the same again.

Phillips says, "The marble on these is so soft and porous that it almost comes off like salt. So these won't stay put even if we could fix them."

They’ll use an epoxy, Phillips says, to try to reset them. But it won’t last long, and the headstones will fall over again. Some are markers of veterans of the Civil War and the Mexican-American War. Phillips says it will take heavy lifting equipment to put some of the other monuments back in their proper place.

"With Memorial Day coming up a lot of families are going to be disappointed to see the markers in that shape,” says Phillips.

Many are already disappointed, having just heard about it, including Martha Stroup and Marsha Hanavan.

Stroup says, "So would they want their mother's grave disrespected like that? Or maybe they don't care. Or maybe their mothers and parents don't care. It's a sad, sad world."

Phillips says, "There seems to be a lot of vandalism in Hutchinson right now and hopefully they'll find a lead in those cases and find a lead in this case and bring the guys to justice."

Sooner or later those vandals will make a mistake and hopefully get caught.

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