"What's Going On Here?"


This magnificent historic Arch suffered damage to the roofing structure in a windstorm in late February of 2020. The entire copper roofing structure had to be removed for safety reasons. Underneath was discovered many large cracks in the masonry and debris from previous repairs. Some of the massive historic stones at the top will have to be lifted off with a crane and then carefully secured back in their proper place. The Massachusetts Historic Commission and Andover Preservation Commission are both involved in this unexpected restoration project.

Top pictures show the copper roofing structure being removed. The bottom pictures show the large cracks in the concrete and stones leaning forward.

The top 3 stones were carefully removed. Masonry work will be done in the area behind these stones and then they will be put back in place.

This triumphal Arch was built in 1908 by architect George Shattuck for William Madison Wood, who was President of the American Woolen Company and one of the wealthiest men in Andover in the early 1900s. Mr. Wood purchased 45 additional acres of land surrounding the original 5 acre cemetery. The new garden cemetery was modeled after Woodlawn Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The Arch is made of Milford Granite, which turns a pinkish color when wet. The stones at the top are symbols of Egypt. The two snakes represent the upper and lower Nile, the whole kingdom, while the disc represents the sun. The urns on either side of the Arch symbolize eternal life, and the angels represent entrance into heaven. The palm and wreath represent victory and rejoicing. The words "He will swallow up death in victory" come from the Book of Isaiah 25:8.

These are pictures of the architect who built the Arch in 1908, and the way it looked originally.

The arch project is very costly. If you would like to donate to the Arch Restoration Fund, please visit our website at www.westparishgardencemetery.org and click on the PayPal donate link. You can also mail a check to West Parish Garden Cemetery, 129 Reservation Road, Andover, MA 01810. Please note "Arch Restoration" in the memo section.

The cemetery is a non profit organization and your donation will be tax deductible.

The Board of Directors greatly appreciates any and all donations to help restore this grand Arch to its original splendor. Enjoy watching the repairs.

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