A pair of historic, cast iron signs that were once on the Glenwood Cemetery found a new home at the Collinsville Historical Museum.
The signs, which were donated to the cemetery by Dr. James Wadsworth in 1913, have been languishing and forgotten in Lebanon for the past decade. Wadsworth donated the signs, gates and brick pillars that were built at the entrance of the cemetery.
"Over the years it fell into disrepair and in the 1960s, it was removed," said Al Nicol, a member of the Friends of Glenwood Cemetery. "We lost the gates and signs. We didn't know where they went."
The Glenwood Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Collinsville and was founded by William Collins, the founder of the city. First United Presbyterian Church has taken care of the cemetery for the past 175 years, providing oversight and maintenance for the burial ground. All of Collinsville's founding fathers are buried in the cemetery.
About 10 years ago, Tom Maxson, an elder of the church and a member of the committee charged with maintaining the cemetery grounds, stumbled across the forgotten signs and took them to his plumbing business in Lebanon for safekeeping.
There they sat.
"Somebody got those signs off the original gates and put them back out in the cemetery," Maxson said. "I saw them and I grabbed them so no one would try to sell them for scrap. I picked them up out of the grass because I didn't want anybody to pick them up and take off with them, I knew they had historical significance."
The signs weigh about 75 pounds, Maxson said.
"They were sitting near the door of my shop and people asked about them all the time," he added. "We finally found a place for them."
The Collinsville Historical Museum, which is next to the Collinsville Library at 406 W. Main St., received the signs Tuesday afternoon and will determine where and how they will be displayed in the museum. The signs, which are now rusted and dirty, were once black with white lettering.
They originally had plans put them on the walls and include historical information about Wadsworth and the cemetery, but may have to rethink how to hang them.
"We thought they were wood signs, we didn't know they were this big and heavy," said Steve Barnish, a volunteer with the museum. "We'll have to find a good spot for them. Somewhere where we can put all the historical information up with them."
The museum, which operates entirely on donations and the help of volunteers, is free and open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit collinsvillemuseum.org.
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2667.