The City of Cleveland has received an offer from a few local monuments dealers to restore historic tombstones at the Erie St. Cemetery badly damaged over the Labor Day weekend at no cost to the city.
Milano Monuments also tells newsnet5.com that it will be offering a $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
More than a dozen grave markers from Cleveland’s oldest cemetery were toppled over and cracked during the vandalism incident.
With plots dating back to 1826, many date from the Civil War era and earlier and include many of Cleveland’s founding fathers.
Cleveland police tell newsnet5.com that a police report was not filed and the city is handling the matter internally.
But groups like the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve are calling for new security measures to stop future vandalism.
President John Cimperman said the group has discussed locking the gates overnight and possibly asking for security cameras to be installed.
“It wasn’t done in a minute,” Cimperman said. “It was done in a period of time. To knock this many stones down and somebody must have seen it.”
The group includes descendants of the Clevelanders buried in the Erie St. Cemetery.
John Franklin is a distant relative of Noble Merwin, one of Cleveland’s first merchants and a prominent figuring in the early days of Cleveland. He and several other of Franklin’s relatives, including Robert Lyon, are buried near the E. 9th street entrance.
Franklin said the vandalism is especially upsetting to his family.
“It’s like, poking fun or beating up on somebody that cannot defend themselves,” he said.
For those interested in helping restore the monuments and the cemetery, contact the Early Settlers Of The Western Reserve, P.O. Box 39291, Solon, Ohio 44139 or call (440) 235-4441.