Historic Oakland Cemetery gazebo in need of repairs

By Crystal Burns

 

Its foundation is solid, but the historic gazebo at Oakland Cemetery is need of major repairs.

The Oakland Cemetery Committee met with a local contractor, who asked not be named in this story, Wednesday morning, May 13 to get a sense of what would be required to renovate the gazebo.

The contractor said the roof is also in good shape. He suggested removing it to rebuild the columns, using wood impervious to the weather. He said the railing could be rebuilt with the same type of wood or wrought iron. He said the roof should be pressure washed and repainted.

The committee agreed to spend up to $1,000 with the contractor to erect scaffolding as soon as possible to begin shoring up the structure, which was built in 1896 by Alfred F. Hight. Dr. Thomas J. Happel had the gazebo erected for the Ladies Cemetery Association.

The women cared for the cemetery grounds, and the Trenton City Council appropriated funds for the construction of the gazebo to provide the ladies with a shady place for their use on Sunday afternoons.

“This is a historical site,” said Committee Chairperson Betty Poteet. “There’s no way we can tear it down.”

In 2008, William C. Hight, Alfred F. Hight’s grandson, supervised a renovation of the gazebo.

The contractor said he could get a solid proposal with estimate to the committee in a week. Poteet said that while the committee does have money in its account, it will need help to finance the repairs.

“We need all the help we can get,” she said.

She and Mayor Ricky Jackson discussed seeking grants the committee could apply for to help with costs.

“It’s a pretty gazebo,” Poteet said. “It’s a historical thing.”

To make a donation to Oakland Cemetery, send checks to Betty Poteet, 385 Milan Hwy., Trenton, TN 38382.

Oakland Cemetery was created shortly after the City of Trenton was established in 1823. The earliest grave is dated 1832.

Margaret Daveiss Hess, the first woman to plead a case in a United States court, is buried there as are two colonels and two majors from the Confederal Army. The cemetery is also the site where General Nathan Bedford Forrest placed his artillery during the Battle of Trenton on Sept. 20, 1862.

The cemetery is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

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