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Vandalized Wyckoff Headstones Prepped For Expert Repair

A historic stone restorer has wrapped damaged century-old headstones in the Wyckoff Reformed Church cemetery to protect them over the winter.
A historic stone restorer has wrapped damaged century-old headstones in the Wyckoff Reformed Church cemetery to protect them over the winter. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson
Pastor Andy Kadzban of the Wyckoff Reformed Church surveys the damage done to century-old headstones in the church’s cemetery back in October.
Pastor Andy Kadzban of the Wyckoff Reformed Church surveys the damage done to century-old headstones in the church’s cemetery back in October. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson

WYCKOFF, N.J. – People may notice something unusual at the Wyckoff Reformed Church cemetery.

The black garbage bags dotting the landscape may seem out of place, but they are serving a purpose – and a very important one, according to Nancy Mattera, president of the church’s cemetery association.

The church recently hired historic-stone restorer Robert Neal Carpenter to fix about 55 century-old headstones that were knocked to the ground back in October . But Carpenter needs warmer weather before he begins.

In the meantime, he is wrapping the damaged stones – some of which were broken into three or four pieces – in black plastic.

According to Mattera, he is doing that “so that the cracked edges will hold their integrity for the whole winter so that ice, snow, and wind and whatnot won’t continue to crack them.”

“That way he will get a better edge when he puts them back,” she said.

Carpenter “has quite a reputation,” according to Mattera.

He has done restoration work for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the federal courthouse at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, Columbia University, and the Verizon building at the World Trade Center site, she said.

“We did get some insurance money, and we raised over $14,000. So with the insurance money, plus what we’ve raised, we were able to get what we feel is the right man to do the job,” Mattera said.

The black plastic will probably stay in place until the end of April, she said. “But we will look forward to a lot of action next summer.”

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