WATERFORD — The town is seeking bids to complete the restoration of an archways at Elm Vale Cemetery on Sweden Road.

The archway is one of two that grace cemetary entrances. It is about 25 feet tall and 24 feet wide, and is the newer of the two. The archway was stabilized about two years ago to prevent it from collapsing. The other archway was repaired about 14 years ago, and is considered to be in fairly good shape.

“We have raised some money toward the project but don’t know what the cost will be until the bids come in,” Code Enforcement Officer Bill Haynes said. The bids are due Feb. 7.

Haynes, who also serves as cemetery commissioner, said the town is trying to use private funds for the project.

Last year’s stabilization project cost taxpayers just over $12,000.

The project was begun more than a year ago by James Long of James M. Long and Sons of Waterford and his sons, Eric and Darin. They repaired rotted bases on the western entrance. Once the base was unearthed, it was found the structure was being supported by only one of the four posts; the others were rotted.

The team excavated the ground after putting wooden cribbing up for support, and poured cement footings using a piece of steel with corrugated exterior to grip into the cement. Eight-inch steel plates were welded into the rebar and set in the concrete and bolted to the eight-by-eight beam holding up the side structures.

The posts, which remained exposed, were reinforced with steel and a three-quarter-inch threaded rod bolted on each end. There were four placed on each post.

The cemetery is significant as the the burial ground for Charles Farrar Brown, better known as Artemus Ward, the 19th century humorist and contemporary of Mark Twain. Brown passed away in England in 1867 and was moved to Maine in a soldered metallic casket that was put on a horse-drawn, two-seated spring wagon to bring to the cemetery, according to a 1915 newspaper story about Brown.

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