The gazebo honoring veterans at Waterside Cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect, is getting a facelift thanks to community support and volunteer efforts.
The once-white wooden gazebo sits atop a hill in the veterans’ section at Waterside, overlooking Salem Harbor. For decades, it provided a peaceful place to reflect and remember fallen heroes.
But weathering over time has taken a toll. The structure’s wood have become warped and gray, with peeling paint and rotting areas. The metal support beams are corroded with rust.
Concerned citizens like Joan Cutler had been calling for the restoration of the landmark, considered a treasured community spot.
Now, after Cutler and others drew attention to the gazebo’s current state of deterioration, various local groups have stepped up to fund and organize repairs.
The Marblehead Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Marblehead Harbor, InterAct and ElderAct have all pitched in to cover contractor Steve Gleeson labor costs, while local company Gilbert and Cole has donated all the materials needed, according to Linda Maffeo of the Elder Act Club. Work is expected to begin soon to replace damaged wood, repaint the structure and reinforce corroded metal beams.
“[July] is when I first notified the Cemetery Board of contact from Linda Maffeo regarding the possibility of them getting donations and arranging some repairs at the Gazebo,” said Cathy Kobialka, superintendent of the town’s cemeteries. “This has all been arranged by the ElderAct Club and we are just waiting for them to let us know when the work will begin.”
Maffeo said it’s been “incredible to see the community come together to fix up this special place. So many people have fond memories here and want to see it maintained for generations to come.”
Renovations are expected to finish before a Wreaths Across America ceremony on Dec. 16.