Summer 2022 Update

Summer is upon us, and we are excited to see the new Sugar Maples and Crab Apple Trees in the Old Village Cemetery blooming along Village Avenue.

Lots of improvements have taken place in the Cemetery as the restoration moves ahead under the direction of Joe Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW, and the Dedham Village Preservation Association, Inc. The ironwork of the Howe plot (AX132 on the Town map of the Cemetery) has been replicated and installed by Wovensteel, Inc., of East Boston, manufacturer of distinctive ironwork. The Howe plot was the most seriously distressed grave in the OVC, involving the removal of invasive trees, foundation issues, and the repair and replication of ironwork. The work was paid for in part by a generous grant from the Dedham Savings Community Foundation.

Work to restore the Old Village Cemetery continues with the installation of replicated ironwork for the Howe plot on Village Avenue. More plots are scheduled for restoration this year.

Left to right: Said Naciri, lead welder for Wovensteel, Inc. of East Boston; Ted Russell, President of the DVPA, Inc.; Marie Louise Kehoe, Chairman of the OVC Restoration Committee; Daniel Gebrenedhin, fabricator; José Gutierrez, shop foreman; and Joe Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW.

Our agenda is to continue to clean and repair gravestones, and to reclaim endangered sites, using existing materials wherever possible. Our feeling is that this is an ancient cemetery, and part of its charm and authenticity is its weathered, centuries-old look. Our goal is to ensure that it is safe for the many tourists that visit every year, and that its rich Dedham history is preserved.

Giving Tuesday and Year End Plea

As the year ends and Giving Tuesday is today, please consider a gift to the Dedham Village Preservation Association on behalf of the Old Village Cemetery Restoration under the direction of Marie Louise Kehoe and her Committee, and Joe Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW. 

We’re hoping to complete the work in 2022 and build an endowment to ensure that the Old Village Cemetery, one of the most important Colonial burial grounds in America, will be maintained in perpetuity. We need your help — please dig deep and thank you.  

To donate, please fill out the form on our donation page, or mail to Dedham Village Preservation Association, Inc., POB 1037, Dedham, MA 02027

Summer 2021 Cemetery Update

Summer, 2021, is here, and with it the continuing restoration of the Old Village Cemetery by the Town of Dedham DPW and the Dedham Village Preservation Association, Inc. resumes. This is our third year of implementing the Halvorson Design Master Plan, and much of the worst deterioration has been addressed or scheduled by Joe Flanagan, Director of the DDPW, and his crew. With that said, there is still much to be done. Kevin Duffy and David Ray will continue to repair and clean monuments. This work, which has been ongoing for the past three years, requires patience and expertise to assure that the stones suffer no further damage.

This Summer, thanks to your generous support, we will be able to begin restoring some of the individual plots that are especially at risk. The first on Joe’s schedule is the Howe plot abutting Village Avenue. Last year the two large Hemlocks which had overgrown the plot were removed in preparation for stonework, replicated and restored iron work, and landscaping. This Spring, we added a new line of trees along Village Avenue as part of creating a welcoming and peaceful experience for the hundreds of yearly visitors from all over the world who come in search of family history, as well as for local residents. At the bottom of the Cemetery, abutting Martin Bates St. is a naturally occurring vernal pool. If our budget permits, we are hoping to develop this area into a nature-fed “Rain Garden” that would add a reflective water feature to the serenity and verdancy that we are hoping to achieve as part of the Cemetery’s rebirth.

While the community has responded generously to our project, we still urgently need donations to repair severe erosive deterioration. It is our hope that in the not too distant future, we will be able to transcend into a program of maintenance as required, and to build on our small endowment fund to assure that future costs can be met in perpetuity.

Take a walk through the Cemetery and witness firsthand our work in progress. We think you will be as excited as we are to see this ancient and hallowed ground reawakening to continue to play its critical role in Dedham history.

Spring Planting

In April the Dedham Department of Public Works planted a line of Sugar Maple saplings, bracketed by blossoming Crab Apples, along Village Avenue. More trees and shrubs appropriate to a Colonial Cemetery will be added, this year, as part of the master landscaping plan.

Photo above: Joe Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW, and Marie Louise Kehoe, Chairman of the Dedham Village Preservation Assoc., Inc’s Friends of the Old Village Cemetery Committee, admire one of the new saplings, Crab Apple and Sugar Maple trees, planted along the Village Avenue abuttal. Shown in the background is Sisi, Marie Louise’s seven month old Australian Labradoodle pup, granted a 20 minute exemption by Joe from the OVC ban on dogs.

Happy Holidays

The Dedham Village Preservation Assoc., Inc. (501(c)3) and the Town of Dedham gratefully thank all the generous donors who are helping us restore the Old Village Cemetery, one of America’s oldest and most significant Colonial burial grounds. With your help, we are making great progress!

Happy Holidays, and wishing you a healthy and productive 2020.

Marie Louise Kehoe, Chairman
Joseph Flanagan, Director, Dedham DPW

Halvorson Design

The Old Village Cemetery Committee, in consultation with Joe Flanagan, Dedham DPW Director, has selected the prestigious Boston landscape architectural firm, Halvorson Design Partnership, to undertake a 3-year cemetery landscape improvement plan for the Old Village Cemetery. Halvorson has extensive experience in cemetery restoration, having designed the Master Plan for Mount Auburn Cemetery in the mid-90’s, and is currently working locally with the City of Quincy and the Town of Plymouth, and a national list of clients. Ricardo Austrich, ASLA, is the team leader for Halvorson, with the able assistance of Associate, Vesna Maneva.


Above: Pictured l-r: Ricardo Austrich, ASLA, team leader for Halvorson Design Partnership, Marie-Louise Kehoe, Chairman of the Renovation Committee, Vesna Maneva, Halvorson Associate; and Joseph Flanagan, Director of the Dedham DPW