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R. S. Tyler Schroder


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The Road to Eagle | Phase One: Trees, Cemeteries, Fire Departments, and more Trees

5 minutes to read

About the Project

For my Eagle Scout Project, I’m restoring an old cemetery just near the Union Mill Rd and Compton Rd intersection [about 200ft beyond 6940 Union Mill Road, Clifton, VA 20124].

History of the Cemetery

The cemetery I’m restoring belongs to the to the Crouch Family of Clifton, Virginia. This is the same Crouch Family who helped found start the first school in the town in the year 1874, just 13 years after the town’s inception. The cemetery is beleieved to have been started between 1874 and the late 1930’s, before embalming was widespread for burials.

Discovery

The site was acutally discovered back in early 2017 when my next-door neighbor told us about the property. As we discovered later (and you can see for yourself below), it’s a wonder he even saw the site 50ft out from the roadside.

A photo of a very overgrown cemetery, with a single field-stone visible in the center. Many logs are around it

Tree Problems

Like any Eagle Project however, it’s not a completly smooth road to success (otherwise, what’s the point?). There was a nice, large (upwards of 20ft), rotten dead ash tree in the middle of the property.

A large, tall 20ft dead ash tree

However, that was easily overcame thanks to modern technology

A member of JL's Tree Service cutting down the previously mentioned tree

JL’s Tree Service managed to come in (for a very good rate as well) and remove that roadblock.

Additional Thanks

Additionally, a kind neighbor in our community who was looking for firewood sources was able to lend his time and skillset to help me cut up the logs on the property, and reduce even further the pile that JL created from the Ash Tree. His abilities allowed us to make definite headway on the project. We were now in this state below:

A small pile of logs in the middle of the cemetery

Phase One – Cleanup

Adding to the track of possible problems, this project phase landed conviently in the middle of the Eastern Windstorm, with wind-gusts going upwards of 70MPH in select areas. Thankfully, only one more tree came down, and it was outside of the cemetery.

Surpise Visit

One larger scare in the early morning was that we found a downed (assumed to be power) cable across the only access road to the property. I’d assumed that NOVEC’s StormCenter wasn’t enough, and (per some directions issued on nextdoor) placed a call to the non-emergent line at the Sully Station. I’ll be honest in saying that I did laugh when they sent an enitre fire engine out to move a single cable, but they came rather fast and took care of the issue before the rest of the volunteers arrived.

A picture of a firetruck in the far distance, engine ID 417

(My Girlfriend stated I’m not allowed to start conversations with her by mentioning that we only had the fire department out there once :p).

Back on Track

With that out of the way, we were able to move on to the actual clearing of the property. Thankfully, my Unit Eagle Coach (UEC) works for a landscaping company, and was able to bring some specialized (gas-powered) hedge shears that cleared the prickler bushes with ease.

My Unit Eagle Coach carrying the Hedge Shears

I diveded up the property into four “quandrants” (As best I could make with the irregular property) and started with the right two. As this was ongoing, some crews started sanding the fence to be painted (at a later date).

Clearing

As noted previousy, we cleared the propery first, and then raked up afterwards. This minizmied the amount of moving bodies when we had high-power tools out and about. One element that assisted with the clearing was using tarps to haul out large quanities of waste quickly.

Three workers using a tarp to haul materials out of the property

After a tarp was filled, we took it to the “curbside” of the road, and filled two trailers with waste to get the most amount transported to the dump (and minizme on cost, as it was a $10-per-run fee).

Attaching a trailer to a car

Sanding

Another obstacle was the fence. Over the many years it’s been in place, it’s thouroghly rusted over at this point. (An important thing to note is that we weren’t going to strip the rust compltely, that would’ve been a waste of time) With a crew armed with drills (with wire-brush attachments), sandpaper (150 grit did wonders), and wire brushes, they set out and tackled the entire fence over four hours of constant sanding.

A team sanding the fence

Trees redux

Of course, the trees didn’t leave us alone. There were plenty of smaller trees to tackle, and one-by-one our crew took them down.

Final Picture

At the end of stage one, we had a beautful (as a cemetery can be) cemetery once again.

Final Picture

Looking Forward

This journey isn’t over yet though. Coming up next is

  • Painting the fence
  • Ordering/Affixing the Site Sign
  • Aministrative Paperwork…

(To be updated in a later post. Please check back soon!)